Prison Life in the Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter from Birmingham Prison Madison Needham To resist criticism is one thing, to convince the critic is another The latter is far more challenging, though none could say with benefit that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a man inadequate for battling adversity. In 1963, King was jailed for marching without authorization in the city of Birmingham. His critics concerned his actions as, “ill-advised and unforeseen” (King I), prompting the civil rights activist to react with “Letter From Birmingham Prison”.

In it, King makes use of the three classical appeals, scriptural references, various kinds of rhetoric, and a thoroughly chosen one to produce a wonderfully worded piece that satisfies of arguing his side. An argumentative piece is any writing that supports a specific set of opinions and beliefs. Often times, they use the 3 classical appeals in order to persuade the audience of stated In the letter, King makes use ot all 3.

For instance, he uses logo designs, the rational appeal, in the lines, “Numerous months ago the [Southern Christian Leadership Conference affiliates] here in Birmingham asked Imel to be on call to participate in a nonviolent direct action program … So I, long with numerous members of my personnel, am here because was invited here,” (King I). In order to validate his look in Birmingham, something cast doubt on by his fellow King presents basic logic He was there because he was welcomed, an inarguable fact that grants him factor for existence and serves the point of prompting others to accept his arrival in Birmingham as justified.

That stated, this fact would fail if King’s position was nothing outside a male in prison. The second classical appeal is ethos, the ethical appeaL Usually, the ethical ppeal develops the authors look, making them into a figure the audience believes worthwhile of listening to. Though few of the modern-day world would question King’s words, a lot of his contemporaries viewed him inadequately. So. in order to persuade these individuals of his position, he needed to highlight his better qualities.

In expressing his genealogy as, “being the kid, the grandson and the great-grandson ot preachers,” (King 7), King successfulty makes himself out to be a male who has a close connection to the church. This makes him a more valid figure to his audience, especially since they are clergymen. As a legitimate figure. the audience is most likely to accept his words as real and reasonable thus increasing opportunities that they come to agree with his argument. That said, such would not occur if all King presented, as a valid figure or otherwise, vuas reasoning.

A connection to the audience is simply as essential as all else, after all The last classical appeal is pathos, the emotional appeal. It serves to make a link between the argument and the audiences feelings, therefore impassioning the subject for them. King achieves this flawlessly by picking the perfect medium for his audience of spiritual peoples. Mentally charged biblical recommendations strike out at Kings readers, understanding them by the heart and shoving them into compliance. This can be seen in the declaration, Yes, see the church as the body of Christ, However, Oh!

How we have actually blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through worry of being nonconformists.” (King 7). King conjects that individuals of the church have damaged it and. for that reason, have harmed Christ himself. This declaration would illegal an emotional reaction from any Christian, particularly sensations of horror and regret Due to the fact that of this action, he readers are more likelyro consider Kings opinions in order to avoid further destructive Christ and likewise to look for forgiveness tor earlier infringements, Still. understanding both sides as reasonable is not constantly enough.

TO entirely persuade his readers, King had to reject their views. Reverse is an example of a rhetorical device, one that provides the opposing concept to the authors thesis before explaining its defects. Of the numerous kinds of rhetoric King uses, this one appears the most often and serves the biggest function in supporting his purpose of encouraging his fellows. In truth, it appears at the start of a lot of King’s body paragraphs, such as with the statement, “In your statement you assert that our actions, despite the fact that peaceful, should be condemned because they precipitate violence. ut is this a rational 5). An example of antithesis based on it and its following ‘inces examination of the critic’s viewpoint, this use of rhetoric allows for Kings audience to see the fault in their oven argument. In addition, it enables the clergymen to additional think about King’s c_mn position. Had this been done with ferocity, it ould have elicited a horrendous reaction. Luckily, King presented a kind and client tone throughout his letter _ He revealed comprehending for the clergymen’s views and approached encouraging them carefully.

This tan. arguably. be seen most seemingly in the lines, “If have stated anything … that overemphasizes the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, ask you to forgive me. If have actually said anything that understates the truth and suggests my having a perseverance that enables me to choose anything less than brotherhood, beg God to forgive me,” (King 9). King does not method with ccusation, requiring that the clergymen excuse their judgments. Instead, he uses apologies on his side just in case he occurred to over step some line.

This mindset is further showed in the closing, which reads, – Yours for the cause of Peace and arotherhood, Martin Luther King Jr.,” (King 9). By revealing that he has an interest in such positive relations in such a positive uuay, King is able to seal the deal, leaving his piece convincing enough to sway the most rigid of opponents. King sets out in his letter to convince his fellow church goers of his positions. o show that his argument is the one that ought to be follæjed.

He accomplishes this well by utilizing some of the most efficient literary tools for his audience, specifically in the kind of rhetorical dcwices, biblical references, classical appeals. and gentle tone. He began with the huge challenge of convincing his critics. In the end, he left his critics with the a lot more complex challenge of bringing themselves to more reject his opinion. If modern is any indication, the majority failed miserably, if not for the betterment of society.

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