Topic Proposal for Rhetorical Analysis Essay & Rhetorically Analyzing MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail

Your Journal should be in written in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, and be double spaced. Include an MLA header and heading. (Links to an external site.)

PART 1: Topic Proposal for Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Read the instructions for the rhetorical analysis essay assignment on canvas. Then, select a speech from the list of possible choices. I recommend you watch a few of the speeches before you make your final selection, to ensure you are choosing a speech that you find interesting and that feel confident you can successfully analyze. Then, answer the following questions. There is no word count requirement for this section; just answer the questions as thoroughly as you can.

1. Which speech do you plan on analyzing for your rhetorical analysis essay?
2. What is the purpose of this speech?
3.  Who is the audience (or audiences) of this speech?  How do you know?
4. What are at least three rhetorical strategies you anticipate being able to analyze in your essay? Give a brief example (a few sentences) of how each strategy manifests in the speech. You may pick your chosen strategies from the following list: ethos, pathos, logos, diction/tone,  imagery, metaphor, simile, illusion, parallelism, repetition, hyperbole, personification, constraints.  For definitions of these terms, please see Master List of Rhetorical Terms document on Canvas under files.
5.  Do you have any questions or concerns for me about the essay assignment?

PART 2:  Rhetorically Analyzing MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail

Read Letter from Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr. (see PDF on Canvas under the module for Day 10).  This letter is one of MLK’s most famous and influential pieces of writing on the Civil Rights Movement. He wrote the letter in response to a letter he received in 1963 from a group of white Alabama clergymen who did not support his protests for racial equality. You can find the clergymen’s letter at the beginning of the Letter from Birmingham Jail document on Canvas. Make sure you read the context at the beginning of the document.

Once you finish reading Kings letter, in at least 200 words, write a brief rhetorical analysis of King’s letter. Please note that you should be rhetorically analyzing King’s letter, NOT the letter from the clergyman that precedes Kings letter. You should write about how at least two of the following rhetorical strategies are used in King’s letter: ethos, pathos, logos, diction/tone,  imagery, metaphor, simile, illusion, parallelism, repetition, hyperbole, personification, constraints. Your analysis must consider how Kings use of these rhetorical strategies connects to his purpose and helps him reach his audience. This means you will need to explicitly state what you think King’s purpose is and who you think his audience is. You should provide some quotes from the text to support your claims, however the majority of your response should be your own writing, not extensive quotation of Kings writing.

For definitions of rhetorical terms, see the file on Canvas titled “Master List of Rhetorical Terms” (see the module for Day 10). 

Upload your response to part 1 and part 2 as a single document to Canvas.

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