Martin Luther King Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Martin Luther King Letter from a Birmingham Jail
We are now beginning our first major essay in ENC 1101. This will be a challenging assignment as it will require you to conduct a rhetorical analysis of a significant piece of American History. The instructions below serve as a guide to your paper. You should include answers to all the questions; however, you can also include more. The technical requirements are provided in the last page.
Your essay will begin with an introductory section, where you introduce the author and his letter. Here, you can provide some contextual background on what led to Dr. King writing the letter. You will then lead in to your thesis.
Establish Your Thesis
In evaluating Dr. King’s letter, what do you believe is the main claim in his letter?
What motivated him to write the letter? What is his purpose for writing this letter? How did the events happening in the US and Alabama influence D r. King’s writing of the letter? You should include examples from his text and from the in-class discussion. You can also include information you find in your research. If you bring in external sources, you must cite them correctly.
Support with examples from the text.
How did Dr. King use rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, pathos) to illustrate the racial injustice occurring in Birmingham (and other areas in the US)? To what aim did he use these appeals?
In analyzing his use of ethos, consider how Dr. King represented himself. What examples did he use to establish his authority on the subject? Did his use of this rhetorical appeal influence you in believing he did or did not have the authority to argue his central claim? Why or why not? Did his use of ethos support his central claim? Was he successful? Why or why not?
Dr. King uses logos throughout his letter. What examples did he use to establish logos? How did his use of logos support his central claim? Was he successful? Why or why not? Do you agree with the examples he provided? Why do you think he chose the examples he used? Provide an explanation for each example you provide.
There are several examples of Dr. King’s use of pathos in his letter. What are the ones that speak out the most to you? Explain why you chose these examples. How does his choice of these examples support his
central claim? Was he successful in his choice of examples to appeal to pathos? Why or why not? Can you offer any criticism of the examples he chose? Why or why not?
Do you believe that Dr. King achieved his aim? Why or why not? How did his use of ethos, logos, pathos help or hinder his achieving his aim? Describe Dr. King tone and style. Why do you think he chose to use this specific tone and style in his essay?
• Start with your thesis. Identify one main concept in Dr. King’s letter that you want to discuss. • Discuss ethos, logos, pathos in distinct paragraphs. • Always support your assertions/opinions with examples from the letter. • Discuss his use of tone and style to achieve his aim.
• Summarize your main points. You will likely need several paragraph. At this stage, a one paragraph conclusion will not suffice. • Include an example or two that supports your thesis. • Reiterate your thesis.
• Follow MLA requirements for formatting • 4-5 pages, Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced • 1” margins on all sides • First line of all paragraphs indented (using Tab key) • Include title page formatting as discussed for your first essay including header and page number.
• Submit your final paper • No more than 8% match in your originality report on Turnitin (in your final paper). • You can submit and modify your essay before submitting your final version to Turnitin. Make the necessary modifications until you bring down the match to 8% or less.
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