Rhetorical Appeal Usage in Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter, Birmingham City Jail

Rhetorical Appeal Usage in Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter, Birmingham City Jail

Length: 654 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The mighty river flows through the mountains with liquidity and nurture providing life for all those who wish to take a sip from it. Yet the river is powerful in its own force destroying even the largest rocks, crumbling them into small pieces. People may be able to stop the river for a short time or even dry it up but the water always comes back in one form or another, every dam is bound to fail. Some people have been able to harness the power of the river, redirecting the mighty water making it flow in constructive ways. Similar to the river, language is influential. Its true power is not seen by the naked eye but by those who study it, those who use it as their ally in a war of linguistics. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter, Birmingham City Jail he is able to use all three rhetorical appeals to prove that demonstrations lead to negotiations and benefit for both sides of an argument.
Martin Luther King Jr. uses the rhetorical appeal of Logos to provide a sense of logic and reason within his letter. When he is accused of resorting to demonstrations rather than attempting negotiations King provides his four step plan to a successful nonviolent campaign, listing direct action as the final step and negotiations as the second. This point peacefully refutes the clergymen’s accusations and does not provoke a new argument. King also uses facts to prove a point such as, “There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than and city in the nation.” (King, ¶-5) This quotation validates King’s reasoning to be in Birmingham for demonstrations and not just negotiation.
Among his use of logic King also uses the rhetorical appeal of Ethos to show his credibility and explain his reasoning for demonstrations. ...

... middle of paper ...

...ring to the example of a river and language it is easy to see how Martin Luther King Jr. utilizes the rivers destructive force to his advantage. He is able to combine diction and syntax to form the perfect letter filled with logical, creditable and emotional appeal to the audience. His words flow together in harmony while having a weathering effect on the mind, heart and soul. This is why Martin Luther King Jr. is able to successfully use rhetorical appeals to prove that nonviolent demonstrations will lead to negotiations and benefits for both sides. Birmingham City Jail was a private letter not intended to be read by the entire world and yet it still has the ability to stimulate a response in its unintended audience. What literature today can do this? Perhaps we can be the ones to create it just by chasing what we believe in and showing the world that we are right.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Martin Luther King 's Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

- 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 effe...   [tags: Rhetoric, Letter from Birmingham Jail]

Better Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

Rhetorical Analysis "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

- Rhetorical Analysis of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” In the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responds to an article by eight clergymen, in which he explains the racial injustice in Birmingham, and reasons why King's organization is protesting for Civil Rights. He introduces himself and his actions at the beginning of his letter. He states that the purpose of his direct action protest is to open the door for negotiation on the Civil Rights. He tries to convince his audience by providing evidence in order to gain his audience to be involved in his movement and support him....   [tags: racial injustice, clergymen, evidence]

Better Essays
708 words (2 pages)

Rhetorical Analysis of Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay

- In the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail) written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the three artistic appeals of Aristotle are plainly apparent, especially logos. Dr. King repeatedly appeals to logos (Ruszkiewicz) throughout the entire piece; particularly when he says he was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist then gradually gained a matter of satisfaction from the label. He is very impassioned in his language and tone in this part of the letter, yet still makes a strong argument for logic....   [tags: Martin Luther King]

Better Essays
654 words (1.9 pages)

Martin Luther King 's Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

- Augustine Ugwu Professor Professor Ileana Loubser ENGL1301 November 2, 2014 Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay Analysis Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” is an emotional gaze into the authenticity of racial discrimination in 1960s America. King established this letter to his fellow clergymen which aims to address their concerns on the subject of the wisdom and timing of the nonviolent actions and the unjust demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama that he and other fellow leaders carried out in 1963....   [tags: African American, Racism, Martin Luther King, Jr.]

Better Essays
1871 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Rhetorical Analysis of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

- ... In paragraph 2, King outlines the hierarchical leadership in his organization and the relationship between his organizations with other organizations that are contrary to the obvious reason he was striding to. It is of absolute no impact to tell the clergymen of the honor he serves as a president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He ought to have stated the exact reasons of his coming to the City and the link of the same to the mandates of the organization. I believe this was to reveal much on himself and the position he was in the SCLC and it was a nice approach to give them detailed information (The Atlantic Monthly, 78)....   [tags: Marting Luther King Jr, american history]

Better Essays
980 words (2.8 pages)

An Analysis of Letter from a Birmingham Jail Essay

- Letter from a Birmingham Jail was written by Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1963, as he sat, as the title states, in a Birmingham, Alabama jail. King had been jailed for his participation in a peaceful protest of segregation in public places such as lunch counters and public restrooms (Berkley, 2003). While jailed, King read a criticism of the protest by a group of white ministers, who felt such demonstrations “directed and in part led by outsiders” were “unwise and untimely”, suggesting that blacks should wait for the court system to work....   [tags: Analysis, Martin Luther King Jr.]

Better Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about King’s Letter Considered a Classic Argument

- King’s Letter Considered a Classic Argument After being jailed in the Birmingham city jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister who preached nonviolence, wrote this response to a published statement by eight fellow clergymen from Alabama. This letter was not only composed under somewhat constricting circumstances but was written in a way that can be analyzed to be considered as a classic argument. Not only does it contain the five elements needed in a rhetorical situation, but the letter includes the six parts of an argument, the five types of claims, and even the three types of proofs....   [tags: Martin King Analysis Letter Birmingham]

Better Essays
1268 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Martin Luther King Jr.

- Broadcaster Edward R. Murrow once said, “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.” Those words apply to any form of communication but are substantially potent when considering ones written endorsements. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” was written as a peaceful rhetorical rebuttal intended to appeal to its eight authoring clergymen; whom expressed their disapproval of Dr. King’s actions and their timing....   [tags: Letter from Birmingham Jail]

Better Essays
1287 words (3.7 pages)

A Comparison of Letter From Birmingham City Jail and I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

- Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest speakers for the Black civil rights movement, had written many great works in his time. Two of his pieces stand out as his greatest works, Letter from Birmingham City Jail; a letter written from a jail in Birmingham where he was arrested for demonstrating peacefully, to clergymen who didn't agree with his views, and I Have a Dream; a speech given by King in front of the Washington Memorial at a huge civil rights tea party. Both works convey the same message: the time has come where Black Americans will not stand for civil injustices any longer....   [tags: comparison compare contrast]

Better Essays
1914 words (5.5 pages)

The Rhetoric of Pathos in the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay

- The Rhetoric of Pathos in the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I have a dream," says Dr. Samuel Proctor, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University. "All the little children--you hear everywhere you go: 'I have a dream.' All the little children repeating that speech. It's become like the 'Star Spangled Banner' or the 'Pledge of Allegiance.' It's entered our culture." And so it has: "I have a dream" has become one of the most memorable phrases of the twentieth century....   [tags: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essays]

Better Essays
1129 words (3.2 pages)