Rhetorical Analysis: Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Letter from Birmingham Jail (Rhetorical Strategies)

Since ancient times, promoters of justice have brought into play rhetorical strategies to persuade their opponents. On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter regarding the criticism several clergymen made, stating that the movements of nonviolent resistance to racism from Dr. King were “unwise and untimely”. In this letter King uses several rhetorical strategies but mainly he makes use of 3. In the first one, King uses an outside authority (Religion), given the fact that he is trying to persuade Christians. Second, Dr. King appeals to emotion (Ethos), he tries to appeal to their human and goodness side. Third, King employs analogies to emphasize his argument against racism.
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King employs the rhetorical strategy called Ethos, which means emotion. He uses this tactics to make the clergymen see that the ones they’re segregating are not less than any other human being; he tries to appeal to their good side. King says “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation say wait“(821)
And he then proceeds to quote his son who says “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?” to make a point; make him see what an innocent mind thinks and how it affects him. He then proceeds to say
When you take a cross country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” and your last name becomes “John”, and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”…Then you’ll understand why we find difficult to longer willing to wait. (King, 821-822)
These are one of the most powerful words this letter has to offer, he emphasizes what a negroe has to suffer day by day. King mentions this to make the clergymen see what it feels like to be segregated, to make them see how unjust it

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