Summary Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. advocates for a handful of ethical principles and practices that he claims to be integral to effective conversations and protests between various social groups. He maximizes the potential of his ethical appeal by exhibiting the very principles for which he is advocating not only through his anecdotes and his character, but through his writing techniques in the letter. King advocates for dialogue, nonviolence, and the use of time constructively, and he implements all three of these methodologies into the rhetorical foundation and construction of his letter to the clergy. King repeatedly acknowledges the problematic nature of a society in which there is one sole voice that is heard. …show more content…

He argues that there is never right time or a wrong time to take action, there is only wasted time. He asserts that it is always the time to do something that is right, "Time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right,” (6) he also seems to believe that the inevitability of time passing is neither a bad thing or a good thing, but it can, however, be used constructively or destructively. He states, "Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will." (6) King warns against the allowance of too much time passing. The demonstrations that he helped to orchestrate, that the clergymen deemed “untimely” were a testament to King’s dedication to use time constructively, to not let too much time pass without taking further action. Just as the practices and principles of dialogue and nonviolence that King advocated for were also literary tools for in “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, so is this idea of the use of time constructively - as king was in fact in a jail cell while writing this letter. He did not wait until he was released from jail to write this letter, and he did not allow the time he spent in jail to become wasted time, time that could have become destructive to his cause and to the movement of which he was a

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