Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr 's Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Possibly the three most important components a writer must understand are audience, genre, and rhetorical situation. When reading critically we become acquainted with these concepts therefore become better writers ourselves. While learning about rhetorical writing and composition we have analyzed Billy Collins “ Commencement Address at Choate- Rosemary Hall” , Martin Luther King Jr’s “letter from Birmingham Jail” and Lloyd Bitzer’s essay on “Rhetorical Situation”. In this paper I will analyze and make connections between the concepts of audience, genre and rhetorical situation in connection to the fore-mentioned readings. In doing so I will focus on how each used these concepts as means to communicate their main ideas and purpose.…show more content…
King uses strong rhetoric efforts and appeals to his primary audience with tone, knowledge, and religion. Dr. King’s tone in this letter varies but it was all done with a specific purpose- to move his audience.
He starts the letter with a very calm and reflective tone. He states “ Since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticism are sincerely set forth, I want to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.” By addressing them in a calm manner he is easing them into his argument with respect making them more likely to engage. His tone shifts from calm to passionate and reflective. He states that “we know through painful experiences that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” His tone is meant to demonstrate the struggle African Americans face. Through his passionate stand he is urging the audience to understand the main reason behind his efforts, hopefully moving them to action. He is also standing up for them as a leader working insufferably for change. Doctor King’s tone is incredibly passionate and outraged when he states “I wish you had commended the negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer, and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation”.
I specially enjoy when he used a direct tone to point to his primary audience what they missed in their initial statement. Doctor King
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