Rhetorical Triangle

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Aminatta Jagne
English 2030-050

Experience of Literature
Response One

Letter to Mr. President

Dr Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham jail used all angles of the rhetoric triangle to address the civil rights movement in Alabama and the rest of the US. His audience was not just the clergyman that has accused of being an extremist and outside agitator, but a broader audience. He focused mainly on the moderate whites who seem to be the majority during that time and who was on either side of the fence. He tried to rationalize with them and showing examples of the issues that the blacks were facing during the civil war and how he uses his nonviolent campaign to try to put his point across and get the laws changed. He also uses simple day to day facts pointing out how segregation affects not just the blacks, but the whites also. For example, trying to explain to your young black child why they cannot play at the same park as the white kids and the effect it has on their confidence and morality.

Dr Martin Luther King’s response to the Alabama Clergyman was not just a geared to them but to a broader audience especially the moderate whites. His letter was written to reach all citizens in ever race and age group, and he did this by using the references from biblical times and other historic events to compare the civil rights movement to rationalize and offer facts and testimonies to validate his fight. For example, he used an example of the prophets from the eight century B.C. leaving their villages and carrying their “thus said the lord” far beyond their home towns to compare to his leaving Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama to lead the movement. Theses biblical references and connections was intentionally directed towards the clergy who had called him an extremist and an outsider; who Dr king believe would be the first t take stands on...
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