Analysis of Dr Martin Luther King's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail'

610 Words Jan 8th, 2018 2 Pages
Martin Luther King, Jr
:"Letter from Birmingham Jail" is a powerful piece of writing that graces the writings by Martin Luther. Part of the power lies in the use of rhetorical devices such as allusion to Biblical and historical figures, metaphors, and anaphora and how Luther used these stylistic devices and literary approaches to express his message, intention and express the mood of the letter making a masterpiece like no other letters before.

Anaphora This has been used by King to effectively portray the images and messages he intended to impart on the reader as well as to build emotions and capture the reader emotionally (Richard N. 2012). A good example of anaphora in the letter is the repetition of the phrase "when you" while Martin Luther was defining the ills that annoy him most. He says "But when you have seen vicious mobs …when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse…when you see the vast majority … when you suddenly find your tongue twisted … when you have to concoct an answer … when you take a cross-country drive … when you are humiliated … when your first name becomes 'nigger' … when you are harried by day and haunted by night … when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of 'nobodiness'… In the above, the letter lays emphasis on the ills and vices that are prevalent in the society and at the same time inviting the reader to open up the emotional attachment to the plea and position taken…
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