Letter From Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr.

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When imprisoned, among the first thoughts to go through one 's mind isn’t typically to write to a letter that justify one’s actions. Conversely, after being imprisoned for non-violently protesting segregation, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, in the margins of a newspaper to his “Dear Fellow Clergymen” (MLK Jr. 1), his famed “Letter From Birmingham Jail”. The main purpose of King’s letter is to defend and back up his strategy of using nonviolent action to protest oppression and racism. Accordingly, to prove his point, Martin Luther King Jr. asserts his authority, asks rhetorical questions, and makes use of metaphors and anaphoras to actively accomplish the purpose of showing that his actions are wisely strategic, timely, and undoubtedly necessary. He knows, if action is not taken, nothing will be consummated. Therefore, when King opens his letter up, he does so by proving his credibility so that he can establish a sense of legitimate authority in the audience 's eyes. Martin Luther King Jr.’s repetitive use of rhetorical questions can be seen as an attempt to appeals to the logos of his potential audience. As one reads, one may find oneself stumbling in attempt to answer numerous questions that communicate points rather than answers. At one point King asks, “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” (MLK Jr. 3). He then states that he has already exhausted all effort to find a path of negotiation to settle matters, but to no avail. He then moves makes a point that people who are born into power and privilege are typically reluctant to give it up out of their own free will. King brings his audience to the conclusion that, to receive freedom from the oppression of these powerful and priv... ... middle of paper ... ...ied access due to a personal or physical aspect, such as eye color or gender. Hence, King is able to use the anaphora of these two words to touch on the topic of pathos and reach readers more personally. In “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, King tactfully uses rhetorical questions, metaphors and anaphora to ultimately argue that his actions are wise, timely and crucial. Change cannot be accomplished by sitting back and waiting for things to happen. To be free from the oppression of powerful and privileged groups, action must be taken. Society needs to work together to build and achieve something great. We can’t wait for people to realize that if there is injustice towards one group, then it can happen to another as well. Therefore, by writing this paper, king successfully proves that contrary to what his fellow clergyman claim, his protests were clearly wise and timely.
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