M L K – Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Analytical Essay
May 15th 2009
English 115
M L K – Letter from Birmingham Jail
On April 16, 1963, from the jail of Birmingham, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote an extensive letter to eight clergymen who attacked his work for civil rights in a public statement released on April 12, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr. aimed this letter at those eight leaders of the white Church of the South. However, the eight clergymen's letter and the response from Martin Luther King, Jr. were publicly published. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to convince of the utility of his commitment in this particular area at this specific moment. To persuade his readers, Martin Luther King, Jr. appeals to his own reputation and wisdom. Second, he tries to arouse sympathy in the readers to influence them emotionally. Finally, he appeals to logic, supported with evidence and citations from influential thinkers. This paragraph starts with a delicate yet strong statement from King whom wants to say, "Honest confession that over the past few years has been gravely disappointed with the white moderate." The imagery used in his topic sentence, "honest confession," gives you the impression that he is opening his deepest and most heart felt feelings then; when he is disappointed "gravely," as he said, by the white moderate's reactions to his direct action, you begin to feel a prejudice towards them from the very start. This imagery is continued when King states his "regrettable conclusion" about what the real obstacles King also relates the white moderate's main argument, the idea that direct action is not necessary and that all problems are resolved over time, with an unrealistic image. King states that the white moderates actions or inactions are guided "by a mythical concept of time," which leads the white moderate to believe that there is a "more convenient season," which must be on a later date. This argument also ties into an argument made in a later paragraph which starts by saying, "such an...
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