Rhetorical Strategies In Letter From Birmingham Jail

789 Words 4 Pages
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was imprisoned for marching through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama. In response, eight clergymen published a letter in the Post-Herald criticizing his presence and his strategies by naming him an extremist. From the cell where he was imprisoned, he responded by writing what has come to be known as “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. In this letter, Martin Luther King Jr. uses many rhetorical strategies to retaliate against the claims the clergymen make, and prove his righteous cause. In response to the clergymen’s accusations of being extreme, King uses allusions, antithetical construction, appeals, contrast, concession, and authorial persona to counter-argue their claims. King contrasts the two parties which he can be, complacency and hatred. Complacency is made up of people who are drained of self-respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation. Hatred is made up of who are perilously close to advocating violence. His comparison appeals to logos, because he is neither. In the comparison of the two parties, Martin Luther King Jr. argues that he doesn’t consider himself extreme; he sees himself in the …show more content…
uses excellent rhetorical strategies to support his ideals and to convey how his actions are necessary. King first says that he thought of where he stood between the two opposing forces in the community. He contrasts what he can be extreme for, and then proves he is neither. Then he builds his ethos and appeals to logos by showing he has used love instead, and he says that violence is the latter option when oppressing nonviolent direct action. King then contrasts how America and 3rd World Countries are both fighting for racial justice because oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. He finally becomes satisfied with being an extremist by giving allusions of many influential and morally righteous people who could be deemed as

Related Documents