Letters From A Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Letter from Birmingham Jail; Rhetorical Analysis Essay

1620 WordsSep 24th, 20107 Pages

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Use of the Rhetoric Triangle Every writer has some sort of drive when writing a piece of work. Whether that drive comes from a creative source or the need to prove a point, it exists. For Martin Luther King Jr. that drive was the need to put an end to racial injustice that seemed to be everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a perfect example. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was King’s response to eight clergymen’s “A Call for Unity.” His drive came from the clergymen’s unjust propositions and accusations. This letter allowed King to not only propose a rebuttal but to justify his own civil disobedience, as well as explain the indecency of racial segregation. Throughout his letter, King…show more content…

We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. (Par. 2)
In paragraph 2, King points out the facts as well as his business in Birmingham. Logos required logic, facts, anything that shows flow of logic. In this text, King was informing us, as well as the clergymen that he in fact did have business in Birmingham. “Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” … Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.” (Par. 3) A subsection of logos is appeal to authority and by referencing to the Apostle Paul, King uses the same Biblical mentality of the clergymen to get his own point across, as well as justify his reasons for being in Alabama. Just like the Apostle Paul spread the word of Jesus, King is spreading the word of freedom. Briefly, King touched upon nonviolent direct-action in the previous paragraph as in his reasons for being there, however he goes more in depth into these direct-action ‘steps’. “In any nonviolent campaign there are four steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.” (Par. 6) A major element of logos is enumeration. King uses enumeration to lay out a foundation for his counter argument by addressing the essential steps needed to have a successful nonviolent campaign. As King’s tone in the letter begins to shift and change direction, so does his use of the rhetoric

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Rhetorical Analysis of Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay examples

651 Words3 Pages

In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail) written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the three artistic appeals of Aristotle are plainly apparent, especially logos. Dr. King repeatedly appeals to logos (Ruszkiewicz) throughout the entire piece; particularly when he says he was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist then gradually gained a matter of satisfaction from the label. He is very impassioned in his language and tone in this part of the letter, yet still makes a strong argument for logic. Despite the overwhelming emotional and personal investment involved Dr. King still allows logic to prevail thus lending him a huge amount of credibility. As a member of the community being persecuted in…show more content…

Using logic in the face of fallacy is undeniably effective no matter the subject. The use of logos (Ruszkiewicz) in the argument made by Dr. King proves that reason does rule over emotion, at least in the words he was able to get on paper. Even the use of paper was withheld initially to Dr. King and yet his words shine through the murk of politics and the depths of pathos. No matter what beliefs were held throughout Alabama at the time, it is hard to disagree with a point made so obvious through common sense. Just after the passage mentioned above he uses a great deal of pathos to back up his point. He asks “Will we be extremists for hate or for love:”, while this is an appeal to pathos it is directly backing up the conclusion reached through using logos. While initially disappointed, after thinking it through he decides being an extremist is really very satisfactory. He even uses ethos to back up the logos of his prior statements by comparing himself to historical and biblical figures once also deemed extreme. By keeping a clear head unclouded by ethos or pathos, he was able to speak precisely and profoundly to the heart of the matter. The civil rights movement of the sixties is one of the most controversial times of the last century. Many, if not all, who lived through that time, and the generations following were enormously impacted. At the time passions ran so high that violence at peaceful

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