An Analysis on "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

Published: 2022-12-16
An Analysis on "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Education Business Society
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1085 words
10 min read

Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," was written following an unfair offer made by eight white priests. They claimed that no Negro "outsider" ought to get the permission of establishing or leading any demonstrations. Instead, that should be left to their local neighborhoods. King wrote a direct response to the clerics, although he made use of religious ties to voice his opinions to the public as well. In his reply, King strategically applied good motives, emotional aspects, and logical evidence to bring out his views to the clerics. In the first paragraphs, King talks of his primary objectives of the letter and later go-ahead to set up his basic ideas.

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"Letter from Birmingham Jail" is a classic type of important art due to King's strong opinions as well as his powerful application of convincing rhetoric in writing. The author explains and supports his views with emotional appeals, historical allusions, and figurative language. His strategies are based on the conventional system of most spiritual scriptures which emphasize what the clergymen try to provoke from their worshipers instead of the theme of the writing itself. It is characterized by a harmonious method of rhythm and repetition to inspire members of the congregation to take note of the points passed across and give a response. Hence the necessity for directing action to instill the debate on the society is illustrated further.

King applies metaphorical language as a method for underlining his arguments. This form of writing can appear as similes or metaphors, which contrast one thing with something different; allusions, which link the writer's contemplations to those of another person; or other artistic styles including hyperbole and personification. In King's letter, he uses allusions and metaphors. King applies metaphors to distinctively depict the circumstances and emotions influencing the individuals who are liable to seclusion. Across the nation, blacks are "tied in a solitary attire of purpose" (2). In Birmingham, "the dull shadow of a profound frustration settled upon" (1) activists of civil rights advocating for integration. He considers discrimination as an "ailment" in which "powerful action" is the main antitoxin, while the Church, which was at one time a regulator that changed society's temperature, only reads, but cannot react to the national temper (2). These correlations create images which will stick on the reader's minds.

King's allusions are in no way unpretentious-he expressly names official figures whose thoughts reflect his own. Biblical allusions have a vital part in King's portrayal of himself and the problem of being a leader. He often refers to Jesus, as a man who was attacked for his mission of spreading love and peace, just like the eight clerics has verbally assaulted him. King also alludes himself to Paul, the apostle who spreads the word of God far from his home base (4). These references are overly impactful as one deliberates King's hypothetical recipients for the letter - eight white priests representing the Jewish and Christian beliefs.

King also uses pathos, logos, and ethos to make a comparison of himself and men's rights to spiritual backgrounds. He uses pathos while illustrating the life of an African American stating that, "brutal mobs drowning your sisters and brothers and lynching your fathers and mothers, and blacks facing humiliations every day" (3). Other than pathos, King also presents ethos in the letter. Ethos is seen in the first argument as he claims to oppose the opinions offered by the clergymen. In the next paragraph, he establishes his honesty when he comes across the ideas of the white clerics. Luther thus appeals to ethos by making inferences to the views and declarations of the priests when giving his different assessments.

The author also uses Logos efficiently in his writing. He guarantees that he gives logical explanations and reasons for his opinions. For example, he begins his letter by explaining why he believes the white clergymen are not right. King claims that the primary option for the blacks to advocate for their rights is by applying 'direct action' (2). In support of his opinion, he gives the examples of the nation's founders who he claims did not believe in using good-faith reconciliations while fighting for their freedoms and rights. Logos, which King applies in binding and connecting the various parts of the story, create the most effective and robust request. At times, the author combines both pathos and logos in the write-up.

King uses a friendly tone at the beginning of the letter as he calls out the clergymen. There is a touch of fatigue as well in his words when he claims that he hopes he could direct his arguments reasonably and patiently. King's fatigue is heard in the extensive account of how it feels raising a family in a segregated world. Even though the author's words are polite towards the end, he portrays anger writing on the unrecognised protagonists of the civil rights movement.

These strategies emphasize the profundity of the King's wisdom, knowledge, and education and his arguments on black's discrimination are also present in the modern society. Some parts of the contention for the long-held segregation against Black Americans was that they were not able to reason or that they were like animals or kids, who needed to be controlled and authorized since they are immoral and could not make logical ethical decisions. King's skill of composing this letter, his not very unremarkable self-correlations with spiritual leaders, philosophical and religious allusions, the death and breath of his literature, and the complexity of his rhetoric, all work to emphasize his opinions on the historic and currently experienced black segregation and inequality. In the letter to the eight clergymen, King also talks on the issues of inequality in society.

In conclusion, inferences made by King on Saint Paul and Jesus Christ assist in illustrating how Christianity has grown into a dominant doctrine in society. This illustration helps in developing his logic for the necessity of having direct actions. As seen above, King applies his perspective, knowledge, and experiences in illustrating the challenges faced by Blacks living in America. His use of pathos, ethos, and logos, enables him to generate confidence and trust in his audience, that in turn helps his attempts to influence his reader's actions. The author's skill in illustrating the cold and cruel acts towards Blacks exceeds his intelligence. His far-fetched metaphors accurately portray his firm character. His use of elements like allusions, metaphors, and rhetorical questions all blended with an aspect of hope to generate a fascinating argument for impartiality in Birmingham, as well as all over the universe.

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An Analysis on "Letter from Birmingham Jail.". (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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