King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Cheimi Reyes Letter from a Birmingham jail, written by Martin Luther King Jr, depicts the visceral experience of black minorities during the 1900s. including a response to the clergymen who criticized him for his non-violent efforts. These clergymen had accused King of being an outside agitator whose demonstrations were “unwise and untimely.” Dr. King structured the letter using multiple literary techniques throughout the piece, including intense imagery, and emotional appeal in order to make his message effective. The letter gives his readers insight into how black citizens are being terrorized, beaten and suffering because of their skin color. King used this letter to respond to his critics- to tell them that there’s never a right time to fight for freedom, that blacks have endured a tremendous amount of suffering, and that now is the time to fight for equality and desegregation.

Dr. King uses intense imagery in his writing to establish that his non-violence tactics were necessary to generate change in society and to illustrate everything blacks had to endure. For example, he writes of how “vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers and drown your sisters and brothers at whim” (3) to allow the readers to imagine the experiences black people have to endure on a daily basis. His use of imagery helps his readers understand and sympathize with what blacks had to endure. When thanking the very few white civilians for joining the fight, King explains everything they encountered from “Languish(ing) in filthy, Roach infested jails” and “Suffering the abuse and brutality of police men who call them ‘dirty nigger- lovers.’” (8) King is trying to show to his readers that the brutality against blacks is a real and immediate danger, in addition to recognizing that even white people who support desegregation and equality are looked down upon. King’s words, such as when he was explaining black people’s horrific experiences, paint an image in the audience’s minds.

In writing the “vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage,” (3) Dr king wants us to almost re-live and deeply imagine twenty million black people confined to poverty despite being in the midst of an affluent society. The many uses of intense imagery by Dr. King establish the meaning behind his letter by drawing readers into a sensory experience. The purpose of this letter was to illustrate black citizens experience during segregation and to respond to his critics who claimed he was an extremist. Dr. King does this effectively by using the literary element of emotional appeal. He tries to make readers understand that segregation had an immense effect on many, even children whose parents who have to “explain to (their) six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park… and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children.” (3). He says this to make a connection with readers who are parents and to ensure that the whole audience understands that segregation is not just hurting adults but is also hurting children.

Black children are led to develop a hatred towards those whites who are oppressing them. King also uses his emotional appeal when discussing his journey in a segregated era- of having to sleep in a uncomfortable car because “no motel will accept you” while being humiliated by banners that read “white” and “colored.” (4) The thought of having to sleep in a car with your children because a hotel is exclusive to white people is flabbergasting and thus the emotional appeal he evokes here is immensely effective. King also uses emotional appeal when explaining why blacks are scared. Blacks are “haunted by night by the fact that (they) are a negro,” he says, and they are “plagued with inner fears and outer resentments.” (4) Many were embarrassed of who they are because of their skin complexion. This sentiment appeals to anyone who struggles with their identity. Readers can’t help but feel both empathy and outrage. Dr King’s decision of incorporating emotional appeal to his writing was effective because it touched the readers in a way most writings about segregation and racism doesn’t. The Letter, Letter from a birmingham jail written by Martin Luther King Jr illustrates the lives of black people . To make his letter effective and appealing to readers Dr King used imagery and emotional appeal. He made his letter effective by connecting to the readers, his letter resonates with our current issues in our society. His letter associates With police brutality which is an issue that is captivating our society daily; young black men getting killed, Racism and discrimination happening daily in our community. Dr Kings Letter was effective in capturing the reader’s interest, was a great way to bring awareness to today’s prominent issues.

Criterion A: Historical and Social Context: To what extent does the student show how their understanding of cultural and contextual elements does not reach standard Superficial understanding of cultural and contextual elements. Some understanding of cultural and contextual elements. Strong understanding of cultural and contextual elements.

Criterion B: Knowledge and understanding. How effectively has the student used the topic and the essay to show knowledge and understanding of the chosen work? does not reach standard The essay shows some knowledge but little understanding of the work used for the assignment. The essay shows knowledge and understanding of, and some insight into, the work used for the assignment. The essay shows detailed knowledge and understanding of, and perceptive insight into, the work used for the assignment.

Criterion C: Appreciation of the writer’s choices. To what extent does the student appreciate how the writer’s choices of language, structure, technique and style shape meaning? does not reach standard There is some mention, but little appreciation, of the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning. There is adequate appreciation of the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning. There is excellent appreciation of the ways in which language, structure, technique and style shape meaning.

Criterion D: Organization and development. How effectively have the ideas been organized, and how well are references to the works integrated does not reach standard There is some attempt to organize ideas, but little use of examples Ideas are superficially organized and developed, with some integrated examples from Ideas are adequately organized and developed, with appropriately integrated Ideas are effectively organized and developed, with well-integrat Ideas are persuasively organized and developed, with effectively ed into the development of the ideas? from the the works examples examples works used. used. from the from the works used. works used. integrated examples from the works used.

Criterion E: Language. How clear, varied and accurate is the language? How appropriate is the choice of register, style and terminology? (“Register” refers, in this context, to the student’s use of elements such as vocabulary, tone, sentence structure and terminology appropriate to the task.) does not reach standard Language is rarely clear and appropriate; there are many errors in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction, and little sense of register and style. Language is sometimes clear and carefully chosen; grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction are fairly accurate, although errors and inconsistencies are apparent; the register and style are to some extent appropriate to the task. Language is clear and carefully chosen, with an adequate degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction despite some lapses; register and style are mostly appropriate to the task. Language is clear and carefully chosen, with a good degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction ; register and style are consistently appropriate to the task. Language is very clear, effective, carefully chosen and precise, with a high degree of accuracy in grammar, vocabulary and sentence construction; register and style are effective and appropriate to the task.

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King's Letter from Birmingham Jail. (2019, Aug 18). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/kings-letter-from-birmingham-jail/

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