Rhetorical Analysis of Martin Luther King's 'Why We Can't Wait'

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Racism in America has been around for centuries however it was in the 1960's that the attitudes of many Black Americans started to quickly change and they realized they wanted equality. Out of this, The Civil Rights Movement emerged which was a peaceful social movement that strove for equal human rights for black Americans. The leader of the Civil Rights Movement is no one other than Martin Luther King Jr. In his book, Why We Can't Wait, King tries to convince Black Americans to realize their reality, remember their roots and important and mainly, to seek changes to social conditions and attitudes.

The intro to King's book can be split into three individual sections, each having its own meaning. The first describes the poor living conditions for a black boy and a black girl. In the following section, King reminds the audience of …show more content…

He changes his tone from passive to passionate. He does this when he writes, "It was a step that rocked the richest, most powerful nation to its foundations" (King 96-97). It also uses a bit of strong imagery. He expresses that the first step toward equality as the earth moving and nations running with fear. The audience felt empowered by the sentence alone. Another rhetorical device is the common ground he establishes in his last sentence where he writes, "This is the story of Why We Can't Wait" (King 98-99). He uses the word 'We', connecting with the audience and ensuring them that together they will bring change to social conditions and attitudes. The third section is King's call for change.

In conclusion, Martin Luther King Jr helps Black Americans realize their reality, importance and roots and convinces them of changes to social conditions and attitudes. King decides to take a stand against racism but he can not do it alone. He encourages many to fight against racism and earn equal rights. Freedom is worth fighting

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