Use of Rhetorical Devices in Letter from Birmingham Jail

Usage of Rhetorical Devices in Letter from Birmingham Prison

Use of Rhetorical Gadgets in Letter from Birmingham Jail Letter From Birmingham Jail In King’s essay, “Letter From Birmingham Prison”, King remarkably uses the use of a number of rhetorical methods that are pivotal in effectively influencing critics of his philosophical views on civil disobedience. King’s significant attract the sensible, emotional, and most especially, moral and spiritual side of his audience, serves to make “Letter From Birmingham Jail” one of the most moving and persuasive literary pieces Of the 20th century.

In Birmingham. Ala., in the spring of 1963, King’s project to end segregation at lunch counters and segregated iring practices drew across the country attention when authorities turned guard dogs and fire hose pipes on tranquil demonstrato& & King was jailed in addition to a great deal ot his advocates, consisting of numerous schoolchildren. When white clergy, strongly opposed to Kings position on nonviolent passive resistance, released a declaration urging the blacks not to support the presentations.

King penned a letter of remarkable eloquence which defined his viewpoint of nonviolence disobedience. In “Letter From Birmingham Jail”, King expresses his extreme frustration over the criticism of his leadership by Alabama clergymen, is understanding of why oppressed individuals should resist their injustice, and his deep faith in the fundamental decency of all Americans, In “Lerrer From Birmingham Jail” King shows exceptional literary prowess through his mastery of a number of rhetorical methods to encourage.

King’s strategy to affect his audience in “Letter From Birmingham Jail” is that ofa three-pronged method. In an attempt to sway his fellow clergymen King argues his position with enthusiasm and conviction as he respectfully interest the logical, psychological and spiritual psyche of his critics, Kings very first effort to reach his reader is hrough his attract their reasoning or thinking. He does this by providing a direct relationship in between the thinking for his position against segregation and argument for it’s resulting actions of civil disobedience by those oppressed by it.

This technique is most obvious When King provides the reasoning for his statement, “I have actually almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s excellent stumbling block in his stride towards flexibility is not the White Person’s Councilor or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the White moderate, Who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” (100 ). He deduces the reality that the white moderate oes not appear to recognize the gravity of their non-action.

King even more declares that laws are established to promote justice and with their present amoral application, civil resistance ro those segregated laws by blacks is warranted and inescapable. King continues he sensible argument when he exhorts the reader to analyze the quote Of a senior black woman Who remarks, “My feets is tired however my soul is at. rest” (168 ). King acknowledges that although her declaration is grammatical incorrect, and her lack of education apparent, she is still cognizant of the magnitude of oppression suffered by Blacks under partition.

King nderstands that to communicate such a controversial position effectively; reasoning alone will not suffice. To reach even deeper into the mind of his reader King also tries to interest the reader’s emotional side. By presenting vibrant details to explain the predicament of himself and other Blacks, King uses the opportunity for us to vicariously experience the heartbreaking feelings in the daily lives Of African Americans under the laves Of segregation.

These poignant images are comprehensive With striking clarity when King composes, “Owhen you all of a sudden discover your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to describe o your sex-year-old daughter why she cant go to the public amusement park that has simply been promoted on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is informed that Funtown is closed to colored kids” (157-58), An additional effort by King to generate a psychological reaction to segregation is through his liberal usage of metaphors and word repetition.

Through his usage of the extended metaphor of a rainstorm King moves the reader through the dispirited emotions of the “dark clouds of racial prejudice,” “deep fog of misconception” and “tear-drenched communities- to the appealing vision of a future that lights up ith “The glowing stars of love and brotherhood” that in some nor too distant future will “shine over our terrific country with all their scintillating charm” (169 ).

Finally, King’s usage of repetitive language punctuates his appeal to the emotion by highlighting his points as if they were accompanied by the pounding of his fist King develops both psychological momentum and he writes, “Was not Jesus an extremist,” “Was not Amos an extremist,” “Was not Paul an extremistn” King’s final technique at encouraging rhe readers of “Letter From Birmingham Prison” is one real to his natural calling: an appeal to the spiritual nature of man.

Born the child of a Georgia minister, King is strongly affected by the spiritual concepts of Christianity. Because spiritual leaders of the neighborhood were typically the most respected and admired, King sawthe church as a way for fantastic social modification tor African-Americans. gy quoting spiritual leaders like St. Augustine, “an unjust law is no law ar all” (158 ), King reminds his clergy brethren that his very first calling is that of a spiritual leader and his objective is one that is of the greatest ethical calling.

King even more showing his knowledge of the conditions and circumstances of early Christian leaders when he draws a contrast in between is situation and that of the apostle Paul when he writes, -Like Paul, should constantly respond to rhe Macedonian call tor aid” (16m Petitioning to the readers ethical conscience King beliefs that exemplary minded people are more apt to step in against oppression if asked to question their own ethics.

Through his recommendations to history, his stylish prose, and his thoughtful analysis of the condition of Blacks, his essay exposes a writer of remarkable skill and intelligence His rhetorical technique in detailing the disparity of the oppressed, courageous, non-violent people ot his age shows that “Letter from Birmingham Jail” lacks concern, one of essential documents of the civil rights movement.

Kings capability to interact the plight of the disenfranchised of American society assisted galvanize a generation and alter the social fabric of an entire country. Functions Cited King Jr., Martin C “Letter From Birmingham Prison”. A World of Ideas. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston,’New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 1998. 153-69 Zepp, Ira G, Jr. The Social Vision of Martin Luther King Jr. New York City: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1984 123-47 Walton, Hanes The Political Viewpoint of Martin Luther KingJr, New York: Greenwood press, 1971