Literary Devices In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, the now infamous, Letter from Birmingham Jail, which was a response to the eight clergymen who wrote a letter to Martin Luther King Jr. stating that there was racial segregation to be handled, but that it was a job for the courts and law to handle, and not everyday people.

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In his letter, King supported the idea that injustice was everywhere, and not just in court rooms. He supported his claims by applying anaphora, diction, parallelism, and rhetoric appeals. King uses his words to build trust and reassurance, feeling of emotions and logistics and credibility in his response letter to effectively get his messages across. King most effectively applies these devices by giving an incredible insight as to what African Americans are faced with daily, and the make-up of just and unjust laws in Alabama.

King uses pathos by giving examples of how poorly Negros were frequently treated while the law watched it happen and did nothing about it. He implies how mothers and fathers were lynched and brothers and sisters are drowned because white men felt like doing it. He states that when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim which causes the reader to feel and experience the brutality that the negro population suffered through (King 4). He uses pathos a second time by referencing a little girl who sees an advertisement for an amusement park that is opening. She begins to cry when sher’s told that she, along with other African Americans, are not allowed to go because the park wont allow colored people to enter (King 4). His descriptions highlight the extent of racism in Montgomery, at the time.

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