Free Letter from Birmingham Jail Essay Sample

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Martin Luther jr. in his letter, 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' is a good example of persuasive writing; he wrote this letter when he was in jail to counter what the clergymen had written in the newspaper about their protest. In order to smoothly pass his information across, he employed different types of language and words. He also used different techniques to put across his argument. First, he uses personal experience; Martin Luther describes horrific events that were experienced during the peaceful protests. In his letter, he says 'Like so many experiences of the past we were confronted with blasted hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon u' this statement encourage pity, understanding and sympathy simply due to the assumptions that the audience in their own experience had faced broken hopes.

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Biblical illusion is another style that Martin Luther Jr. used to capture his audience; he compared himself with characters in the bible. He discussed the story of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego who refused to bow down to the gods even if they were threatened to be killed. He explains about the danger they were facing with other Christians during their time because of their Christianity.  He also gives the story of Paul the Apostle who left his village home and carried the good news to the cities and every part of the Graeco-Roman world. He says that he is obliged to take freedom Gospel to the world beyond his home town, by this comparison; the audiences feel the injustice done to them.

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He also uses Jesus in the bible to address the issue of condemnation due to their minority, 'Isn't this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-Consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to His will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion?' In his statement, he is giving a comparison of his cause with that of Jesus. He also says that three extremist who were crucified in Calvary were not similar, Jesus was crucified as an extremist for love, goodness, and truth and this made him superior. This biblical illusion which he used made him to vividly compare the beliefs of the people who were well known to be devoted to truth and light.

Martin also used imagery in his letter, the use of imagery portrays sorrows of injustice and at the same time anger about the evil things which were committed, and this made the audience to be more open to the letter. The choice of words in this letter was of great effectiveness. Martin used words such as 'at will, kill with impunity, at whim' this evokes empathy and sympathy.

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Another very effective style that Luther use is Counter-Argument, he first identifies the claims of the clergymen, 'You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws' this was a statement from the clergy men, using this claim, Martin was in a position to discuss the types of laws, the 'unjust and just' he particularly lead the audience on his rationalization by categorizing these laws and giving the reasons and situations when they can be broken. By using particular rhetoric strategies, Martin effectively disprove the argument of the clergy.


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