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Book Analysis: Letter from Birmingham Jail


Book Analysis: Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, was composed by King in reaction to a critical “Call For Unity” by a group of clergymen in Birmingham. The clergymen were critical of King for “interloping” in the affairs of their town. King’s action was that he had every right to fight injustice in the nation that he lived im The letter King wrote, while in response to the “Call tor Uniry”, and was also a sort of declaration that he would fight racial inequality any place it was. The “Letter from Birmingham Prison” was, to put this in literary terms, the thesis tatement of his life.

In this letter. he diligently illustrated his reasoning. using all of the attract logic, emotion, and principles. A rational appeal is an appeal that utilizes factor, tacts and recorded proof to make an point, King makes a sensible appeal later in the letter, in which he reacts to being called an extremist. He reacts to this by stating that numerous historic figures that today are thought about heroes were believed to be extremists during their time. He points out individuals such as the apostle Paul, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Jesus Christ (549 ).

He uses factor to make a sensible interest the reader; that it he is an extremist for campaigning for freedom, then all of these other individuals are extremist too. Using pre-owned evidence and the testament Of Others can also be utilized in making logical appeals. King provides us an example of this when he mentions how the Birmingham cops maltreated the protesters (552 ). While he doesn’t offer a source, the event was widely advertised. King uses the evidence to rebut the clergymen’s allegations. Firsthand accounts ot events can also be utilized ro make a logical appeal King utilizes a firsthand ccount to illustrate a point.

He outlines how he anticipated the white religious leaders to come to his help, however rather found unwillingness and opposition (550 ). He makes his argument by providing a direct account of his experience. Nevertheless, firsthand accounts depend on the reader’s perception of the author to be beneficial. For this, you need trustworthiness. To acquire reliability, one need to describe why you are doing what you do, or illustrate the goodness Of your character to the reader. King starts by informing the reader why he is composing the letter (540– 541).

Telling why you are writing can provide the reader some insight into the true significance of the authors work. By doing this, King is establishing his reliability, while also making an appeal to the reader’s feelings. According to the “SE Martins Handbook”, when King develops his credibiliry, this is a kind of ethical appeal, An ethical appeal supports the authors argument by developing that the author is well-informed about the subject. or developing the authors moral character (I SO). Another example of King making an ethical appeal. s when he mentions that he has had the “honor of functioning as local of the Southern Christian Management Conference” He is constructing his reliability by informing the reader that he has actually served in an administrative role. That he has authority. In the starting paragraphs of the letter, King compares himself to the apostle Paul. By making the comparison to the historical figure, he makes another ethical appeal As looked above, an ethical appeal constructs the authors character. This contrast serves to build King’s character to the reader. by comparing him to a person Who is mainly thought about a hero.

The sage of heroes and occasions to make a point often can have a result on the feelings of the reader. Early in the letter, King starts ro interest rhe emotions of the reader _ Going back to King’s contrast of himself to the Apostle Paul, he stares that he must “carry the gospel Of flexibility beyond my own house town” (541 ). The St. Martins Handbook explains a sob story as an appeal that stirs “our feelings and remind us of deeply held worths” (149 ). His wording intends to extract the emotions of the readers, by using a historic event to highlight his purpose.

The llustration ot that historic event resonates with the reader King makes another emotional appeal midway through the letter. He describes how he has actually seen the well crafted southern churches, and wondered how people Who worshiped at the churches felt when various leaders victimized others. King utilizes his vocabulary to illustrate his disappointment and love for the church. By utilizing phrases such as “blistering summer days and crisp fall mornings”, and “lofty spires pointing heavenward” (550 ), King records the imagination of the reader.

When you capture the imagination of a reader hy utilizing images o highlight your point: that is a kind of emotional appeal. King makes another emotional appeal to readers by utilizing wording again. This time, he utilizes strong vocabulary words and phrases, such as “the judgment of God” and “surrender” (551) to make the reader feel a sense of seriousness and severity about the circumstance. Emotional appeal counts on the usage ot strong, significant vocabulary words. King understands this, and utilizes this to his benefit. The emotional appeal of the letter is his best accomplishment. King makes great usage of Aristotle’s 3 argumentative appeals.

Huiever, e does not use difficult proof in his logical appeals. This is easy to understand, as he was jailed He did not have any access to the sources which Would be required to supply proof, Still, this would have offered King far more credibility. King’s letter is mostly an ethical piece. It needs to be, since the letter is a response to criticisms directed towards King. No matter the factors that brought about this letter, the cultural ramifications of the letter are huge. King utilized the letter to declare What his reasoning, motives, and total goals for the long term arc

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