Composing A Rhetorical Analysis Essay On The Letter From Birmingham Jail

Many students write their rhetorical analysis essays about The Letter from Birmingham Jail. This is the letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. He used a great rhetorical strategy in order to explain to others what horrors were happening to the African-Americans at that time. He used a loaded language with many metaphors that later become quite popular.

To write a strong assignment, it is necessary to analyze how effectively the author has communicated his ideas and whether the readers have been persuaded by his argumentation. The following suggestions will help you compose a rhetorical analysis essay about The Letter from Birmingham Jail:

  • Set the scene.
  • Let the readers know that you are writing a rhetorical analysis assignment, state that you are considering The Letter from Birmingham Jail, and provide some background information about The Letter and the history of its creation. Make sure to give some details about its author, the audience, occasion, and the purpose of the writing.

  • Focus your writing.
  • You should compose a strong, specific thesis statement. Since the analyzed piece of writing contains many interesting writing strategies, you should select one of them to critically assess it in your paper. For example, you can write about so-called ‘four basic steps’ offered by King and analyze how well he presented these ideas.

  • Organize your thoughts in a logical manner.
  • A rhetorical analysis should be well-organized or else the readers will not understand what your paper is about. You can organize your writing in a chronological order, use a spatial ordering, or analyze The Letter’s use of rhetorical appeals, such as logos, ethos, and pathos. Instructors also recommend students to organize their ideas by analyzing the language that King used, namely alliteration, metaphors, and anaphora.

  • Use quotations where appropriate.
  • You can use quotations as strong examples to support your ideas. For example, you can analyze how King managed to describe the dark feelings in The Letter by using metaphors, e.g. “abyss of despair.” Remember to cite the quotations according to the required formatting style.

  • End up your essay with a simple conclusion.
  • A rhetorical analysis does not require writing a long and detailed conclusion. You should simply remind your thesis idea and the main points that you have supported throughout the paper. It is fine to write two-three sentences. However, make sure to avoid clichés and general phrases, as the concluding paragraph should be related to your essay topic.