Monday, November 12, 2007

Rhetorical Tools used in "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Rhetorical tools are used frequently in writing to help establish credibility and connect with the reader.

Ethos deals with credibility and ethical/moral behavior. Pathos deals with emotion, and logos deals with logic.

Below are excerpt's from Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" highlighting his use of rhetorical tools.

"Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro."
This is trying to unlock our emotions and make us think about the opinion that is stated. This makes us think of how we live our lives and freedom for ourselves.

"There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."

(Pathos) I think that this again is trying to unlock our emtotions and convince us that this, indeed is true.


"I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of theeith century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman World, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Referencing Apostles from the Bible shows King is a well-educated, intelligent young man.

"Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen viscious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seen to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to collored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority of beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her begging to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people... "

This gripping passage referencing his six-year-old daughter appeals to the emotions of the reader.

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live within the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

"It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

"Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for noniolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

"If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century."
I feel that this is trying to reason with us by using "factual" information. It is also trying to back up its information with historical events to predict what may happen in the future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Meeting on 10/22

Today we met in the library to continue researching our topics. We decided on a format for gathering information and discussed possible ways to compile a final document.

We plan to continue research on our own between now and our next meeting where we will compare collected information.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Introduction Post

This is our first blog post for our group, Radioactive Livestock. The name may sound unappealing now, but by the end of the project, we are sure you will think highly of it.

Our two subjects of focus for this project are "Radioactive Hazards" and "Working with Animals." We have only had one meeting so far and are all anxious and excited to begin working on this project!

If you need to contact us, please do not hesitate to leave a comment on our blog or email us at

Team Radioactive Livestock