Mlk Lette from Birmingham Jail Answers

2122 Words9 Pages
AP Language & Composition Sample Responses to Questions on MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail Read as a response to the letter by the clergymen, King’s essay can be approached as a shrewd argument that shows a thorough understanding of its immediate audience. Following his introduction, in paragraphs 2-3 King explains why he is not an ousider; in paragraphs 5-11, he explains how his organization has tried to negotiate and how it will again; in paragraphs 12-14, he refutes the accusation that his organization’s actions are untimely; and in paragraphs 15-22 he presents an argument justifying civil disobedience. In each case, King deftly crafts his response to show that he, in fact, agrees with the claim the clergymen make, but he redefines the terms for them. For example, he agrees that outsiders should not intrude in community issues; then he shows that he is an insider by virtue of his position in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, his concern for justice, and his belief that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Thus, King systematically, logically, and (one might argue) respectfully responds to each claim made against him. After these counterarguments, he mounts his own argument. In doing so, he employs all manner of allusion, chiefly appealing to religion and patriotism. He employs figurative language through a series of contrasts: mountain/valley, darkness/light, illness/health, organic/artificial. A preacher and a teacher, King expresses himself using rhetorical questions, antithesis, syllogistic logic, parallelism, and a host of other rhetorical strategies. Questions for Discussion 1. Martin Luther King writes as a member of several communities, some overlapping, some in conflict. What are they? Focusing on two or three, explain how he defines himself within each. King writes as a Clergyman, an

More about Mlk Lette from Birmingham Jail Answers

Open Document