Letter from birmingham jailPresentation Transcript
One of the best texts for identifying rhetoricalprinciples, strategies, and terms!
“Public Statement byEight Alabamaclergymen” publishedin the Post Herald.The clergy make 4specific accusations:•King is an outsider.•He should negotiate forchange rather thandemonstrate.•Their actions are“untimely”•There is NO justificationfor breaking the law.
•Paragraph 1 is an introduction•Paragraphs 2-3 King explains why he is NOT an outsider.•Paragraphs 5-11 King explains organization has TRIED to negotiate, and willagain.•Paragraphs 12-14 King refutes the accusation that his organization’s actionsare “untimely”.•Paragraphs 15-22 King presents an argument justifying civil disobedience.King deftly presents his agreement with the clergymen, but redefines the termsfor them.
Respectful, courteous*Remember: Dr. King was not then the icon that he isnow.
Rhetorical Strategies In paragraph 25: Series of rhetoricalquestions crafted with aparallel structure andrepetition. Alludes to Socrates andbiblical events. Use of analogy Repeats the wordprecipitate to emphasizecause and effect. Final sentence is antithesis In paragraph 31 Use of irony with“extremist” Repeats the word extremistso many times it becomesas ordinary as he claims. The final sentence is anunderstatement, whichemphasizes the irony.
Repetition Paragraph 44: structureof a complex sentencebeginning with an “if”clause and the phrase “Ihave no…” The conjunction “Before”in two sentences. Repetition is often usedin sermons to encourageaudience members toremember and, in somecommunities, torespond.
SOAP: Let’s clarify! Subject: generaltopic/main idea. Occasion:Time, place, historicalcontext, circumstancesthat give rise to the text Audience: Individual(s) orgroup(s) to who the text issupposed to appeal Purpose: Writer’s orspeaker’s intended reasonfor writing or deliveringthe text, what the speakerhopes to achieve Now let’s make it SOAPS Speaker: Identity of thevoice of the text, includingrelevant characteristicssuch as age, socialclass, education, reputation Or SOAPSTone: Include the attitude of thespeaker toward his or hersubject.