Effective Use of Language in Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail

Topics: White people, Martin Luther King, Jr., Black people Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: May 23, 2010
In April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail that was addressed to the eight leaders of the white Church of the South, the “white moderates”. Dr. King’s letter talks about how unfair the white Americans were towards the black community, and how true civil rights could never be achieved. Throughout his letter, King talks about how unfair the white Americans were towards the black nation, he talks about the disrespect, unfair and unjust treatment the black community had received from the white Americans. In the letter King’s response is very moving and effective to the readers, he has achieved this by effective use of language, stylistic devices such as the use of imagery, similes and metaphors, and by using plenty of rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is a figure of speech, used in the form of a question, although the question has no answer, rhetorical questions are used for their persuasive effects that expects no reply. All these stylistic devices help make persuasive arguments throughout the letter and also help deliver a point in a way that clearly shows how civil rights are neglected in the American society.

The success of Dr. King’s letter from Birmingham is mainly the result of effective use of imagery. By inserting imagery, this gives readers an image of the effect segregation has had on the black nation, thus giving readers the idea and sensation of how this civil disobedience effected the black people. “I guess it’s easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait” ”, King says that those that haven’t been affected by segregation wouldn’t feel how hurtful this civil disobedience is, and for the black people to hear the word “wait” repeatedly, and not seeing anything done to stop this civil disobedience even hurts more. King uses this imagery in order to give readers the sensation of stinging and pain, in order to know how segregation felt to black people. “For years now I...
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