Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail

One technique King employs is the use of credibility. This device is used to show the believability of the writer, by this the readers will know if the speaker is worth listening to and trustworthy for what they say. The utilization of credibility plays an important role on how a message is received and understood. If the readers do not consider that the writer is trustworthy and knowledgeable about the subject communicated, the readers will likely lose interest or even be reluctant to read the message that is given. Midway through his letter, king continues to demonstrate his passion and anger as he reveals what it’s like not being able to have freedom and equality. King asserts, “For years now I have heard the word “wait! it rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “wait has almost always meant “Never. We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “Justice too long delayed is justice denied. The function of this example of parallel structure serves to develop the credibility of King’s letter. In this quotation it it discusses how African Americans have to “wait but when they were told to “wait it actually meant “never.

When they were told to “wait is was pretty much saying that you are telling justice to “wait which that meant they were denying justice. That is also a reason why there is direct action because nothing was happening and by doing so they were trying to change that so then something will happen instead of just sitting around doing nothing. King expresses his feelings by telling them in this letter how he thinks that it’s not right that African Americans have to be patient and wait even though they know that nothing is going to happen. But it just makes them loose hope in everything that they do and soon they just stop trying which is not fair for them. By using effective diction in his letter he is establishing the credibility of his writing. King was trying to make a point through the use of credibility, which he wants to make his letter convincible and also make it worth listening to because to him it was really important. If he wanted to change the way that African Americans are being treated then he would have to make it believable and show them how terrible it was. When king gave his letter to the clergymen he had a major effect on them by using this rhetorical device. He was straight forward with them, he explained to them what he thought was not right and gave them his perspective on it because he had to go through the same thing as every other African American had to go through.A second technique King employs is the use of Tone. This device is used to show the writer’s attitude about his subject or readers.

Since we can’t hear a tone in a written piece, however, we have to read it and make some inferences. The way to do that is by looking closely at the writers choice of diction, imagery, details and sentence structure. Tone is a major source because it engages emotion with the readers. Also, utilizing language is important to help create a balanced communication between the writer and reader and it helps make the writing more believable which is important. Midway through his letter, King provides an honorable reason for his presence for being in Birmingham. He says that he is there to battle injustice because he believes that all communities are related to one another. King feels the urge to work for justice anywhere that injustice is being practiced. He demonstrates his anger and frustration with the clergymen because they criticized protesters without equally exploring the reasons why they were doing what they were doing. King asserts, “There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. The function of this example of a metaphor serves to develop the tone in King’s letter. This quotation means that when something bad happens a lot or crosses the line, then no one will be willing to wait a long time for sonmething to happen or for it to end. No one likes to wait they want something to happen right away and by usuing this metaphor he is appealing to his readers from a realistic view, which it also helps his readers understand the way he feels about this situation.

King’s use of metaphors helps clarify his point through comparisons and to draw attention to specific aspects of his arguments through the use of vivid imagery. King was furious and dissapointed with his readers and he expressed this by the use of his tone throughout his letter.A third technique King employs is the use of purpose. This device is used to show the outcome the writer desires for the readers. The utilization of purpose argues for a certain position on a given issue. It convinces the readers of the strength of the writer’s point of view and to get the readers to agree with the writer’s position, which also increases the chances that an idea will stick in the minds of the reader. At the end of the letter, King interrogates multiple questions to his readers on how we should fight for out justice instead of doing nothing and letting others control what we do and how we should be treated. King asserts, “Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?. The function of this example of parallel structure serves to develop the purpose of king’s letter. In this quotation the question that king asks is not whether you are an extremist but rather, what kind of extremist will you be and what will you do to protect your justice. By using this rhetorical question in his letter he is presenting the arguments of his opposition, and to suggest specific action to his readers.

King asks these questions rather than giving the answers to them because he wants to engage his readers, force them to answer the questions and come to realization on their own that slaves are not any different and should be treated the same. The rhetorical questions have a major effect on the readers because he wants his readers to question their beliefs and put themselves in the “shoes of blacks, and change their behavior or beliefs as a result. If king did not use this device then his letter would have not been as effective, the reason why is because with these questions he emphasizes his point to his readers. King wanted to draw his reader’s attention so then he could empower his readers to engage in this argument. Throughout king’s letter he supports his argument by effectively using tone, credibility and purpose. When king gave his letter to the clergymen he accomplished many things by using different kinds of methods like using Rhetorical questions, quotes from the bible, and the tone that he set throughout his speech. King tried to make his letter as believable as he possibly could and he never gave up even when he thought he wouldn’t have been able to do it. He stood up for what he believed in and by that he was able to get the Reader’s attention on the matter because he wanted the readers to take him seriously and think twice about how they treat others.

The way that King established and carried out his letter had a lasting impact and left his readers with an extensively argued point to consider. He fought for civil rights and he tried to empower African Americans to develop their own skills to take responsibility for their actions. King believed that African Americans had to do something to prove that they deserved the same rights as anyone else would. But he knew that he was special and by writing that letter he was able to speak out for all the African Americans that were afraid to do so. King is also an African American so he knows what it is like and by that he was able to discuss to his readers what he thinks should change because it was not right, it was awful and cruel. If, king did not effectively use the rhetorical devices then; he would have not been able to get his point across to his audience and nothing would have changed if he didn’t. So it was really important for him to use rhetorical devices throughout his speech because it made it a lot stronger and also more convincible.

Did you like this example?