Letter from Birmingham Jail Questions
1. The straightforwardness and simplicity of the introduction set the tone for the rest of the letter by stating his position (“Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas”) and his purpose or refutation (“I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms”). 2. One key ‘is’ employed in Martin Luther King’s Letter when he wrote “The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro.” The main argument in this sentence is revolving around MLK’s desire to bring to light the inevitable event of reform among the masses of the “oppressed”. [There is not one ‘ought’ in the entirety of the letter] 3. An example where MLK uses an analogy instead of direct reasoning is when he wrote “Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquires precipitated the act by the misguided populace I which they made him drink hemlock?”. An example of a false analogy is “Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique god consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion.” This would be an example of a false analogy because here MLK is comparing himself to a God-figure who commits suicide and that is considered too extreme for his situation. 4. The argument in paragraph 6 acts as a syllogism because the paragraph is divided into three basic ideas: 1.) “There can be no gainsaying that racial injustice engulfs this community”. 2.) “Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States”. 3.) “Its ugly record of brutality is widely known.”
Paragraphs 8, 8, and 9 are all follow-up paragraphs for paragraph 6 since they further emphasize Martin Luther King’s statements by giving examples. 5. In Paragraph 38, the description gives a brief recap MLK’s life experiences, which he follows up with rhetorical questions....
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