Recently you have received a letter from Martin Luther King Jr. entitled “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In Dr. King’s letter he illustrates the motives and reasoning for the extremist action of the Civil Rights movement throughout the 1960’s. In the course of Dr. King’s letter to you, he uses rhetorical questioning and logistical reasoning, imagery and metaphors, and many other rhetorical devices to broaden your perspectives. I am writing this analysis in hopes you might reconsider the current stance you have taken up regarding the issues at hand.
“How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others? Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?” These rhetorical questions and other forms of logistical reasoning present themselves various times throughout Dr. King’s letter to you. Dr. King engages in the use rhetorical questioning and logistical thinking to effectively present your arguments and suggest definite action to his audience, also known as you. Mr. King used logos to connect himself to the article and audience, gives his letter purpose, and it illustrates how both himself and his argument are logically sound.
Mr. King in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” also utilizes both imagery and metaphors. An example the pulls both imagery and metaphors together comes from the twenty-sixth paragraph of his letter. “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” The words quicksand as well as solid rock are a reference to the biblical parable of the wise and foolish builders. The builder who built his house on the sand got destroyed in a flood, while the house that was built on the rock st...
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...contradicts Asia and Africa’s political independence to going to the café and getting a cup of coffee. These varieties of rhetorical devices effectively support King’s communication to you throughout “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by imploring Logos, Pathos, and Ethos to establish his character with you.
During the course of this analysis I hope that it has helped to highlight a handful of rhetorical devices Mr. King uses to illustrate the motives and reasons for unusual behavior in the early 1960’s. Through the examination of rhetorical questioning, metaphors, antithesis, and other devices I wish this analysis has aided to amend your personal perspective of Mr. King and his follower’s character as well as the tactics they employ. Thank you in advance for reconsidering the current stance you uphold regarding the Civil Rights movement.
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