“Letter from Birmingham Jail”
This is the definitive argumentative text in literature—the whole study of modern
argumentation derives from it.
Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper to be turned in tomorrow –
get started on this today in class:
1) Find two examples of parallel structure in the reading and complete the following
a) Write out the parallelism, underlining the words, phrases or clauses that are
expressed in this form.
b) Please explain how it is parallel.
c) Why is parallel structure used here? What does the sentence achieve by being
structured this way? (i.e., how does form create function?) You may want to
establish how the parallelism conveys (or does not convey) ethos, pathos and/or
1.5) For the sake of some creative practice, please write your own proverb—a wise
saying—in parallel form. For example:
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”—Ben Franklin
“I laughed; I cried; I ate a taco”—Mrs. Byrne
2) A lot of you are still having problems understanding how ethos, the way the
arguer establishes his/her character to make the reader, is used. Think of it this
way: who has a negative opinion of Martin Luther King? Have you ever heard
him characterized in a negative light? Of course not. So what does he do in his
speaking and writing to establish the good will and high moral standing he is
Look carefully at the section you are reading, and, in a well-developed
paragraph, explain how King establishes credibility and gains the trust in the
reader. Consider the following: a) given what you know about the historical
context and King’s audience, how does the Reverend appeal to his doubters?
a) how does he establish his own authority and make his reluctant reader
open to his perspective?
The assignment is worth 25 points