Essay about Use of Rhetorical Devices in Letter from Birmingham Jail

1105 Words Jul 29th, 2001 5 Pages
Letter From Birmingham Jail In King's essay, "Letter From Birmingham Jail", King brilliantly employs the use of several rhetorical strategies that are pivotal in successfully influencing critics of his philosophical views on civil disobedience. King's eloquent appeal to the logical, emotional, and most notably, 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 campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and segregated hiring practices drew nationwide attention when police turned attacks dogs and fire hoses on peaceful demonstrators. King was jailed along with
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He deduces the fact that the white moderate does not seem to recognize the gravity of their non-action. King further declares that laws are established to promote justice and with their current amoral application, civil resistance to those segregated laws by blacks is justified and inevitable. King continues he logical argument when he exhorts the reader to analyze the quote of an elderly black woman who comments, "My feets is tired but my soul is at rest" (168). King acknowledges that although her statement is grammatical incorrect, and her lack of education apparent, she is still cognizant of the magnitude of injustice suffered by Blacks under segregation.
King understands that to communicate such a controversial position effectively; logic alone will not be sufficient. To reach even deeper into the psyche of his reader King also attempts to appeal to the reader's emotional side. By presenting vivid details to describe the plight of himself and other Blacks, King offers the opportunity for us to vicariously experience the heartbreaking emotions in the daily lives of African Americans under the laws of segregation. These poignant
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