King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Analytical Essay by Nicky

King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
An analysis of Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail".
# 148796 | 1,148 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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The paper provides several examples that demonstrate how Martin Luther King, in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," appeals to emotions, authority and logic, making it an example of the classical argument. The paper further points out how King presents his arguments in a calm, reasonable manner.

From the Paper:

"King's letter is successful in that it appeals to authority, demonstrating ethos. King is no way wants to subvert or thwart authority. He wants more than anything to for the law to reach an agreement that is satisfactory. He mentions names and recognizes individuals who have fought for civil rights in order to support his argument. He appeals to the church by pointing out how they have been lax on the issue. He claims that the church has "blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists" (King). Keith Miller notes, "classical rhetoric directly or indirectly influenced every masterpiece of Western philosophy and theology that King's professors assigned him to read" (Miller 168). King knew that he had to present a case that was reasonable and logical rather in order for it to make an impact. Mia Klein notes that King's letter is "engaging because of its candor and its lack of affection; he appeals, if you will, to the life-wish rather than to the death-wish that would be implied in a tone characterized by defiance and aggression" (Klein 31). This aspect of the letter is incredibly important because King does not want to appear to be irrational to his opponents."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Farrar. Jo. ""Letter from Birmingham Jail" Masterplots II: Christian Literature." 2008. EBSCO Resource Database. Information Retrieved May 16, 2009. <>
  • King, Martin Luther. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." 1963. University of Pennsylvania Online. Information Retrieved May 16, 2009. <>
  • Klein, Mia. "The Other Beauty of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'Letter from Birmingham Jail.'"College Composition and Communication. 1981. JSTOR Resource Database. Information Retrieved May 16, 2009. <>
  • Miller, Keith. Voice of Deliverance. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 1998.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (2011, November 06) Retrieved January 31, 2023, from

MLA Format

"King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"" 06 November 2011. Web. 31 January. 2023. <>