4 November 2014
MLK Jr. Rhetorical Analysis
In the letter
Letter From Birmingham
, Martin Luther King Jr. is responding to the clergymen who wrote to him about demonstrations he has been taking, calling them “extreme”.
While Martin lays out a well developed argument in his stance, he goes back to consider the accusations made that his nonviolent protest movement is extreme. In the concluding paragraphs of this letter, Martin Luther King Jr. wisely reputes all accusations made by rhetorically phrasing his arguments in an articulate manner.
To begin, from paragraphs 28 through 30 MLK Jr. says he has tried to “stand between two forces” in the Negro community. He stands for both sides but is taking action for the side that is being treated with injustice. In no way does he believe that his demonstrations should be referred to as extreme, being that “the way of nonviolence became an integral part” of the
African American struggle(p.28). Being that members of the Negro community are filled with hatred and oppressed bitterness by being treated with down most disrespect, Martin makes it clear that they should show more gratitude for his ways of nonviolence. He sees it as having the freedom to let out oppressed feelings, rather than having violent blood riots on the streets, “If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history(p.30).”
Continuing on, Martin’s strongest voice in the letter that breached a major point used a lot of logos as well as ethos. At first he has feelings of disappointment that his fellow clergymen see his “nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist”(p.27). As the letter continues, he starts to come to a frame of mind where he is now proud to be what they call an “extremist” and explains all the many ways that term unmasks greatness. In paragraph 31 he begins to state all of the men, along with quotes that proves their actions, who are of the same…