Martin Luther King, he was great man with a noble purpose, to further the rights of African Americans in the United States in a time when many were against it and it was a very controversial subject. It was so controversial that MLK was thrown in jail 29 times, but when he was in the Birmingham Jail for his non-violent protests in the city he wrote a letter that we still analyze today for his uses of the rhetorical strategies. His "Letter From Birmingham Jail" was a response to clergymen in Birmingham that protested against his "unwise and untimely" action. In his letter, Martin Luther King Jr. uses rhetorical strategies such as tone, diction, and analogies to effectively convey his reasons for being in Birmingham and why he will assist anyone in need.
To understand what strategies he used and why we first have to figure out what demographic he's addressing. The audience is primarily white, religious men that are ...view middle of the document...
With such an audience he uses diction in a way that shows that he is intelligent, because many of them thought the opposite of African Americans. He makes use of words such as cognizant, interrelatedness, mutuality, etc, to reach his point in a concise manner but also to show that he is very knowledgeable of the subject. His use of diction also shows the tone of the letter. Even though he is very passionate about his points, his use of advanced vocabulary shows that he is still giving the speech in an informative and intelligent tone. Throughout the speech, his tone is calm because he wants to "Answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms". However, as he moves through the speech he starts to become more passionate and gives more personal reasons for being in Birmingham. As in the 3rd paragraph he appeals to the audience's sense of faith and in the 4th paragraph he states his quest to stop injustice.
He uses an analogy to compare himself to the Apostle Paul, as "Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I. Compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town." He uses this analogy because he knows many of his audience are faithful and that saying this compares him to someone that they fully respect. This analogy is so effective because it is also very true, MLK traveled all around to spread the word of freedom and help others, as Paul did with religion. Being that MLK was a pastor it showed that he too was a religious man and even his opposition could respect that even if they didn't agree with him.
In conclusion, Martin Luther King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail" shows how he used the rhetorical strategies of tone, diction, and analogies to convey his point of view to the clergymen and all others against his ideals. His use of religion and his ability to intelligently but concisely discuss why he is in Birmingham and more so why he will help anyone in need. This letter's impact still lasts today, as it is very famous and many have analyzed it to gain inspiration or just to look into the mind of a great man, Martin Luther King, a crusader for freedom.