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Letter from Birmingham Jail; Rhetorical Analysis

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Letter from Birmingham Jail; Rhetorical Analysis

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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 uses several rhetoric strategies to create a powerful tone to back up his opinions and ideas. Martin Luther King Jr. effectively got his point across to not only the eight, white, clergymen, but to an entire generation as well. King was truly a master of rhetoric, for he managed to incorporate the three points of the rhetoric triangle, make them evident, and still managed to have an entire argument flowing smoothly. Using logos, ethos, and pathos from the rhetoric triangle, King refuted the clergymen’s accusations and utilized their harsh points to present his own views instead.

King first starts off by stating the general purpose of his letter; he then specifically addresses the clergymen to set up his logical counter-argument. In their letter, the clergy men use the phrase “outsider” to describe King. They use it in a term to make him feel unwelcome as well as question his reason for even being in the state of Alabama. The first set of paragraphs, King addresses all the points made by the clergymen, specifically the term “outsider.” I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in”…Several months ago the affiliate here in...