Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Through reading Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, it is hard not be impressed and taken aback by his eloquence with words, especially when you factor in that he is writing this letter from inside of a jail cell. He demonstrates how educated and intelligent he is as he is able to write this lengthy letter, complete with biblical citations and references, from within the jail and without access to any resources (Maranzani, 2013). Through reading King’s letter, and admiring his employment of Aristotle’s canons of rhetoric, and other rhetorical strategies, as well as his effective use of pathos, I have discovered that there are many underlying elements that go into being an effective rhetorician, and King inspires me to improve…show more content…
Outside of this course, I do not believe I would have read any of his pieces, or watched any of his speeches. However, seeing how calm and effective he is when arguing motivates me to have the same level of consideration and effort put into my own work. The way that he formulates his arguments strikes me and encourages me to employ better writing styles to develop my own arguments. In class, we were given two opportunities to practice our skills, and I was able to structure my arguments differently for each and see what worked for me. When arranging his speech, King used the motivational sequence. I too attempted to use this arrangement style when developing my persuasive speech, but I was not nearly as successful at it. I am not Martin Luther King, but through practice, I know that I could learn how to structure my arguments better, just as King…show more content…
I am taken aback by King’s powerful employment of pathos throughout the letter. The very onset of his letter, “while confined here in the Birmingham City Jail,” (King, 1963, p. 1), causes the reader to feel empathy for him because he has been imprisoned, yet is still trying to make a difference in his country. King’s statement of “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” (King, 1963, p. 1), also resonates me with, and truly allows me to see the emotional appeal behind his words. I have felt this is my personal life trough the Humans of New York social phenomena. In it, the creator posts a portrait of a person, along with a brief story that the individual shares with him. Although the project started in New York, the creator travels around the world to share stories globally. When he released the series of photo stories involving individuals from Syria who were trying to escape, it broke my heart. There were stories of children watching their mothers die, wives watching their husbands suffer, families being torn apart; these humans are trying to escape to a different country, to try and preserve what life their families has left. Some of the individuals who comment on these stories are heartless and lack compassion. Leaving those countries is a matter of life and death for them, and for western society to be so ignorant of the plight and suffering of
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