Discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (Essay Sample)
Comment on this essay from a subjective point of view: What emotions does it evoke in you? Why? What do you think of the content of the essay? Why? Can you relate to it in any way? Does it remind of you of some experience you had?
2. Comment on the essay from an objective point of view: Think about who the target audience of the essay is and the kinds of arguments that King uses to support his main point, the effectiveness of these arguments, how effective the arguments are for the target audience, and the overall effectiveness of the essay itself. What do you think of the style (language, literary and rhetorical devices, tone, etc.) King uses? Think about how he uses the various rhetorical appeals--which are effective and why? Which are not and why?
3. Discuss King, Jr.'s credibility in this essay. He has every right to be outraged at the treatment of African Americans, however, he addresses his audience in a certain way. Discuss the ways in which he does this and why.
4. What are your favorite techniques that King, Jr. uses in this essay? Why?source..
Discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.'S "Letter from Birmingham Jail
The subjective point of view
The ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ emphasizes the frustrations of Martin Luther King Jr. in his attempts to highlight how inaction by fellow clergymen to deal with injustice actually worsens the problem. Dr King clarifies his stance of nonviolent means of eliminating segregation and injustice in the South. The letter’s content answers his critics that his civil disobedience was ‘unwisely and untimely’ pointing out that those unjust laws risked stoking fears and more violence. Dr. King also briefly mentions the rise of radical Black groups, drawing contrasts with their tactics, even when they had similar goals. By invoking the Bible and the inaction of White moderates, Dr King manages to draw attention to the question of injustice when people claimed to fight for justice and follow Christ’s example. During elementary schools cases of being singled out as one who has broken rules, regulations and laws without evidence affected me.
Commentary on objective point of view:
The primary target audience in the letter is fellow clergymen who were apprehensive of Dr. King’s support of non-violent protests in Birmingham, in what they considered their city. The letter is also written to the moderate whites who were conflicted in their support and opposition of non-violent protests. To validate his viewpoint, he emphasizes injustice while trying his efforts with Christian morality. The case of Nazi Germans who used legal laws to entrench discrimination against Jews validated his stance th...
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