Letter From Birmingham Jail Speech Analysis

Words: 1396
Pages: 6

General Douglas MacArthur, brilliant officer and war hero, efficiently addressed the nation with humility and gratefulness upon accepting the Sylvanus Thayer Award. This example of public speaking is important today because one must always be able to express themselves effectively to others. Articulating facts, opinions, and feelings is an act that occurs regularly without realization. What one fails to realize is that there are countless methods MacArthur uses to speak efficiently, which one can learn from. Contrarily to MacArthur, in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. has a hard time connecting to his audience because he is addressing his critics in a letter rather than giving a speech directly to an audience. MacArthur’s …show more content…
The most evident example of this technique is the recurrence of the three words, “Duty, Honor, Country” (MacArthur 2). Since this catchy and short phrase is reiterated more than six times, the audience retains the main idea of MacArthur’s speech: “to build courage”, “to regain faith”, and “to build hope” (MacArthur 3). The effectiveness of MacArthur’s speech can be measured by the audience’s understanding. If the audience can recognize what these three words mean to him, MacArthur has successfully expressed himself. Another example of repetition by MacArthur is his opinion of the general American soldier that “was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed” (MacArthur 2). Not only is MacArthur referring to the front lines of defense of the country, but he links the American soldiers to the general public. For the duration of the speech, he describes the characteristics of a soldier as being patient, courageous, modest, successful, determined, and “one of the world’s noblest figures,” among many others (MacArthur 2). The audience can look inward and begin assessing how these characteristics fit into one’s own life. They can gather and trust that an American soldier does indeed possess these qualities because MacArthur states several that are applicable to everyone. MacArthur gives numerous examples to serve as evidence for his claim that soldiers should be well-respected figures. His repetition is effective because the audience can grasp a better understanding of MacArthur and what is important to him based on how much time he spends addressing certain