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Analysis Essay Of "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" By Martin Luther King

1132 words - 5 pages

Analysis Essay of "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King.
On April 16 1963, in the town of Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King was thrown in jail for participating and organizing a non-violent protest in the city streets against segregation. During King's stay in the Birmingham jail, the eight clergymen from Alabama published a statement in the newspapers condemning Kings actions with hope to suppress the demonstrations. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" is King's response to these accusations. Written during Kings stay in the jail of Birmingham, King uses realistic examples, emotion, and an appeal to logic to strengthen his thesis and create a clear definition ...view middle of the document...

King's use of this comparison made his argument more powerful by using someone that his readers could relate to, and by connecting his struggle with a biblical event. King also connects himself to Jesus by implying that his cause is fighting for God given rights and that his movement is "Square with the moral law of god". King continues his religious appeal by relating to the philosopher Socrates. In 399 BC Socrates was condemned for his ideas and beliefs and forced to drink Hemlock unless he renounced his beliefs. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his piece more powerful by using another character that his readers know. Socrates, like Jesus, was well known and liked so by using historically popular figures, King effectively makes his argument sound believable, knowing that his readers will understand his argument. Like King, Socrates believed so strongly in his ideas that he was willing to accept the repercussions for it, which eventually led him to death by poisoning. These comparisons were used effectively and cast a divine light over his cause by appealing to religious and historically savvy white moderates. King's strong use of historical comparison's strengthen his argument by striking at figures close to the hearts and homes of the reader.
King continues to address the clergy's criticism by appealing to the emotion of his readers. Kings writes about seeing vicious mobs lynching mothers and fathers at will and drowning his sisters and brothers at whim. Using real scenarios of tragic events also helped King by emotionally grabbing the reader. By using depressing, heart-wrenching stories, King increased the emotional appeal of his piece by gaining the attention of the white moderate. Sad, depressing events can upset people uninvolved in a situation so by sharing what he had seen, King was able to get the reader's emotions to rise. King continues by saying that he has seen policemen curse, kick and kill his brothers and sisters, and that twenty million negro brothers smother in an airtight cage of poverty amidst of an affluent society. Descriptions such as these, are powerful, and help communicate the direness of King's movement to his readers. King says they have been waiting over 340 years for their God given rights, and that there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and...

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