Dear Fellow Readers,
I recently read an open letter written by Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 16, 1963 titled “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism, and argues to the white clergy and critics that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws.
Click the following link to view the letter: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
This open letter refined my perceptions on the power of writing in such a manner, that I am explaining the various rhetorical techniques mentioned to draw further conclusions on how to write the mind and “voice” ones’ thoughts. The “voice” of MLK, Jr. altered the harsh realities of the Negro community into an urgent need ultimately influencing the Civil Rights Movement. I believe his “voice” compels a specific response. I responded to the letter with empowerment, such that I understood words can evoke an audience in the same manner of actions.
I realized the power to shape the decision of the audience lies within the inartistic constraints. The established credibility or ethos demonstrates MLK, Jr.’s knowledge to theology and his trustworthiness by siting his sources to acknowledge the author who first stated ideas. When MLK, Jr. references Jesus and says “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” he connects with readers that share similar beliefs. The ability to reach and influence an audience with similar values strengthens the appeal to pathos. The choice of emotional appeal or pathos addressed the inartistic constraints that lead the audience to perceive with their hearts. One example of imagery or visual description he wrote portrays his younger daughter asking, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?” This personal experience contributed authority to his argument by displaying the lack of childhood influenced by segregation is not rational. The appeal to logic or logos by MLK, Jr. addresses the unjust laws, conveying “a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.” This reasoning prompts the audience to comprehend his explanation on the importance of eliminating segregation and furthermore evokes a capable audience to become changed by the message.
This letter taught me about the power of the self in rhetorical writing, and how to distinguish one’s essential being from the nature of others through expression of one’s own interests, hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
I am directing this response to anyone who has been influenced by words, and impacted to make a change in their life whether for themselves or another person. I imagine my readers with a similar outlook, such that they are curious on how to write in a manner that has influenced themselves, such as not only addressing an audience but evoking the audience.
Comparable to my readers, I value the expression of thoughts, hopes, and aspirations and communicating meaningful views to speak what’s on one’s mind. Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. voiced his thoughts and dreams for an end to the injustice, by concentrating on beliefs, values, and fantasies manifested within one’s self, I aspire to best appeal to the inner being of oneself and impact an audience that can relate and become changed by my message.
The essence in my writing should address various constraints that shape my response depend on several factors, such as, the people, events, and objects associated with the power to shape decision through my words. To have credibility, imagination, and logic represented in my compositions as MLK Jr. wrote in his open letter, the form of my writing should embody imagination and prompt thoughts that encourage questions to ask oneself to further understand reality. My purpose in writing provokes one’s self to harvest the daydreams flowing from the mind and comprehend the distractions from the present world.