Letter From Birmingham Jail Literary Devices

Letter From Birmingham Jail Literary Devices

Persuasive Appeals King uses several persuasive appeals to establish his reliability and to engage his audience. The three main convincing appeals consist of the interest feeling (pathos), the attract character or authority (ethos), and the attract factor (logo designs). When King uses the example of a little girl with “tears welling up in her eyes” (92) as her moms and dad describes to her that bigotry prevents her from attending a theme park, the idea of an innocent child bearing the mental concern of rejection pulls at the heart strings of the reader and therefore makes the reader more considerate to the mistreated mankind of African-Americans.

King uses ethos to establish his authority with his main audience of eight Alabama clergymen. King regularly relies on sources and examples drawn from Christianity. For example, when he responds to the clergymen’s criticism that he is an outsider, he reacts by highlighting the example of “prophets of the 8th century B. C. [who] left their villages and carried their ‘therefore saith the Lord’ far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, [and] … the Apostle Paul [, who] left his village of Tarsus and brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world” as a precedent for his own work beyond his hometown (86 ).

King also uses factor, in the form of realities and reasoning, to convince his audience that now is the time for action. To counter the clergymen’s argument that the demonstrations are ill-timed, King explains the steps involved in a nonviolent,direct-action project and offers proof that he and his cohort followed each of these steps (87-88). Almost every paragraph of the essay includes some form of persuasive appeal. King’s skilled usage of multiple appeals makes his argument encouraging to the multiple audiences he addresses. Metaphor A metaphor is defined as the suggested contrast of two unlike things.

King utilizes metaphor throughout the essay to interact emotion and make abstract ideas more concrete. For instance, King asks the reader to envision the effect of seeing “the large majority of your twenty million Negro bros smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the middle of an affluent society” (92 ). The metaphor “airtight cage” implicitly compares relatively abstract structures that develop racism, consisting of class and organizations, to a cage, in order to help the reader comprehend that African-Americans feel entirely caught by systemic bigotry.

Imagining life in America as living in a cage also has a psychological impact. King also uses metaphor to develop a state of mind in particular moments in the essay. For instance, King closes the letter with the hope that: the dark clouds of racial bias will soon pass away and the deep fog of misconception will be lifted from our fear soaked communities, and in some not too far-off tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating appeal (112 ).

This system of metaphors is drawn from the weather, with bad weather corresponded with bias and misconception and clear weather related to love and equality. By placing the vision of a sky full of “glowing love and brotherhood” prior to the readers, King highlights the hopefulness at the center of his message and lightens the state of mind produced by his denunciation of Christian complacency in the previous paragraph. King’s usage of metaphors not just produces an engaging read that captures the audience’s imagination, however it likewise serves as support for his efforts to encourage his readers of his position.

Simile A simile is a direct comparison between 2 unlike things to reveal a similarity. King uses similes to dramatize ideas in the essay. For instance, King uses this simile to describe the pace of modification in the United States and abroad: “The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed towards acquiring political self-reliance, but we still sneak at horse and buggy pace toward getting a cup of coffee at a lunch counter” (91-92).

The contrast between a horse and buggy and a jet is stark; such a contrast would be especially galling to most American readers, who tended during the duration to associate the U. S. with technological development and countries on other continents with backwardness. By utilizing comparisons between modes of transportation that are so significantly various, King helps to show that the U. S. is far behind in terms of achieving racial equality and not likely to make up the distance. Anaphora is the repeating of a phrase at the start of a series of sentences to highlight an essential idea.

King utilizes this device multiple times throughout the essay. The most powerful example of this gadget is in the series of sentences that begin with “when you have seen”/ “when you see,” beginning on page 92. King’s usage of anaphora in this circumstances supplies an overwhelming catalogue of the numerous ways African-Americans are reminded of their inferiority in a segregated society. The existence of the repeated phrases is used to counter the argument that African-Americans have actually somehow been too rash in opposing in 1963.

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