Letter from Birmingham Prison; Rhetorical Analysis
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Use of the Rhetoric Triangle Every author has some sort of drive when writing a piece of work. Whether that drive originates from an imaginative source or the requirement to prove a point, it exists. For Martin Luther King Jr. that drive was the need to put an end to racial oppression that seemed to be everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Prison” is a perfect example. “Letter from Birmingham Prison” was King’s action to 8 clergymen’s “A Require Unity.” His drive came from the clergymen’s unfair propositions and accusations.
This letter permitted King to not only propose a defense but to validate his own civil disobedience, as well as describe the indecency of racial partition. Throughout his letter, King utilizes several rhetoric strategies to create an effective tone to back up his viewpoints and concepts. Martin Luther King Jr. effectively got his point across to not just the 8, white, clergymen, but to an entire generation too. King was truly a master of rhetoric, for he handled to incorporate the 3 points of the rhetoric triangle, make them evident, and still handled to have a whole argument flowing efficiently.
Utilizing logos, values, and pathos from the rhetoric triangle, King refuted the clergymen’s allegations and used their extreme points to provide his own views rather. King initially begins by mentioning the general purpose of his letter; he then specifically attends to the clergymen to set up his logical counter-argument. In their letter, the clergy guys use the phrase “outsider” to describe King. They utilize it in a term to make him feel undesirable in addition to concern his reason for even remaining in the state of Alabama.
The first set of paragraphs, King addresses all the points made by the clergymen, specifically the term “outsider.” I believe I ought to indicate why I am here in Birmingham, considering that you have actually been affected by the view which refutes “outsiders coming in”… Numerous months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to participate in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were considered required. We easily consented, and when the hour came we measured up to our guarantee. (Par. 2) In paragraph 2, King explains the realities as well as his organisation in Birmingham.
Logo designs required logic, realities, anything that shows flow of logic. In this text, King was informing us, along with the clergymen that he in fact did have company in Birmingham. “Just as the prophets of the 8th century B. C left their towns and brought their “therefore saith the Lord” … Like Paul, I must constantly react to the Macedonian call for help.” (Par. 3) A subsection of logos is attract authority and by referencing to the Apostle Paul, King utilizes the very same Scriptural mindset of the clergymen to get his own point across, in addition to justify his reasons for being in Alabama.
Similar to the Apostle Paul spread the word of Jesus, King is spreading the word of flexibility. Quickly, King discussed nonviolent direct-action in the previous paragraph as in his reasons for being there, however he goes more in depth into these direct-action ‘actions’. “In any nonviolent project there are 4 steps: collection of the truths to identify whether oppressions exist; settlement; self purification; and direct action.” (Par. 6) A major component of logo designs is enumeration. King utilizes enumeration to lay out a foundation for his counter argument by resolving the vital actions needed to have an effective nonviolent campaign.
As King’s tone in the letter begins to shift and alter instructions, so does his use of the rhetoric triangle. From logos he then proceeds to principles. Martin Luther King Jr. utilizes ethos to follow up on his direct towards the audiences concerning the obedience of laws. Or rather, the absence of obedience. However, by laws he did not precisely suggest state or city laws having to do with material things or taxes, in reality, he was discussing laws that broke down the human. He was mentioning ethical laws. “You express a good deal of anxiety over our determination to break laws. (Par. 15) This opening sentence causes King’s description about morals and kinds of laws: just and unjust. “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others? The answer depends on the truth that there are two kinds of laws: just and unjust. “(Par. 15) In this paragraph particularly, King is the ‘preacher’ and he is preaching about his ideas [morals] on what he thinks about a simply and unjustified law. He offers us a look into his ethics and rationalizations using reason to provide examples when a law can or can not be broken.
He leads into a quote by St. Augustine “An unjustified law is no law at all” (Par. 15) His stringent ethical and church based outlook demonstrates how moral this man truly was. In turn it helps develop principles that far more evidently because declarations like these make King appear full of stability. Another fantastic paragraph that principles can be noticeably found in is paragraph 20. I hope you are able to see the difference I am trying to mention. In no sense do I promote averting or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would cause anarchy.
One who breaks an unjust law needs to do so openly, adoringly, and with a determination to accept charge. (Par. 20) The charged words in the sentence, if not paragraph, are ‘lovingly’, ‘honestly’, ‘determination’. The tone as well as the diction changes within this paragraph; from frustration and clear-headedness, King starts to open. He seems to give off a warm, encouraging diction, while his tone stays placid and calm. He begins to connect with his audience, but simply as he seems to acquaint to his readers, he still preaches his concept and beliefs throughout multiple paragraphs, not simply 20 or 15.
King’s letter strikes a cord with the audience primarily since of his specialist usage of pathos in his writing. Although it may be a bit harder to discover pathos than logos in King’s letter, it is the affect that the paragraph brings that makes his composing a lot better. Pathos makes the readers feel for the narrator, makes them feel the very same pain, envision the exact same things, and allows the audience to sympathize with him or her. King likes to stimulate anger, compassion, empathy, and love, to emphasis his points: injustice has actually put a halt to the civil liberties movement. As in a lot of past experiences, our hopes have been blasted, and the shadow of deep frustration settled upon us.” (Par. 8) King utilizes pathos to invoke disgust, compassion, and unhappiness by describing the various dreadful events that occurred due to the fact that of the stopped working efforts of nonviolent demonstrations. These nonviolent protests have not done anything more than waste their time and achieve near nothing. An extremely strong paragraph that illustrates the same feeling but so much more powerful and much deeper is paragraph 14. … when you all of a sudden find you tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you talk to discuss to your six-year old child why she can’t go to the general public amusement park advertised on tv, and see tear welling up in her eyes when she is informed that Funtown is closed to colored kids, and see ominous clouds of inability starting to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to misshape her character by developing and unconscious bitterness towards white people …” (Par. 4) In this paragraph, King brings up a little child; he discusses her dreams being crushed and not having the ability to go to Funtown. The words threatening and cloud bring a really negative connotation. The diction would have to be unfortunate, dismal, depressed, while King’s tone sounds very poisonous, mad, disappointed. In that very same paragraph King brings up the idea of ‘wait’, how colored individuals are constantly informed to wait, however nothing is ever done about it. “I hope, sirs, you can comprehend our legitimate and inevitable impatience. (Par. 14) The effect of this paragraph is to lastly get some actions and reactions from people. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking of how tired he is of absolutely nothing happening, or constantly having to wait, and in the paragraphs where pathos is clearly seen, it is evident King is searching for some type of emotions or reactions from his readers. So they can feel the way he felt and hopefully throw down the gauntlet. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his argument clear that injustice ought to not be endured or ignored.
By using all parts of the rhetoric triangle (Logo designs, Values, and Pathos), he highlights the sensible, psychological, and understanding parts of the audience. He makes his readers see what it is like to be in his shoes, what it feels like to constantly be informed ‘wait’ and be just another face in the crowd. Initially there was logo designs; logos was evident really often in his letter. King laid all his truths on the table, told every thing in a straightforward, sequential manner.
King has actually used values to in a sense, preach to the readers; to reveal his ideas and morals. Finally, there was pathos. King has utilized pathos to stimulate emotions form the readers and make them see not only King’s side of the story, but impact them to do something about the partition concern. With the ability to use all 3 aspects of the rhetoric triangle in such an effortless method, Martin Luther King Jr. truly is one of the few masters of rhetoric.