ln the introduction to Martin Luther King’s “Why We Can’t Wait” he was setting out to arouse the emotions of his readers by showing them the sad reality of the almost inhuman black situation during this time period. His sole, rhetorical purpose is to arouse pity in his reader by revealing the “cold facts” that no one took notice of. King achieves this goal through careful use of diction and detail. He tells a persuasive narrative in a style that is appealing to his reader.
He tells the story of a young girl and boy in trying situations and persuades his audience to feel sorry for them.
The boy lives in a bad area. His father is “jobless” and his mother is a “sleep-in domestic. ” The girl must take on the “role of [a] mother” because her “mother died. ” What reader can help but feeling sorry for a young child who has no hope? They still live in fear and desolation and have no hope, for their race is sinking.
Once, their people worked with “George Washington” and “shed blood in the revolution. ” But, they fell from higher hopes and were put on “slave ships… in chains. ” The reader can’t help but feel sorry for a race that has been so abused and taken advantage of.
King gives the reader his overall idea by persuading him in this way, but hits the reader’s emotions even harder by his ingenious use of style, his diction and syntax. The children live in “vermin-infested” houses with “drunks… jobless, and drunkies. ” Many of their “shacks” are in danger of “caving in. ” The reader can picture the disgusting surroundings’ and almost smell the malodorous’ “stench of garbage” the children are surrounded by day after day. They are partially “undressed” because they can afford new clothes.
Their father will get “no promotions. ” They live in “misery”. They feel “denied” and “betrayed” as if it were a “punishment for some unknown sin they committed against their country. The reader can only imagine their anguish and pain, for he will never feel so alone. The reader feels even worse as King reveals past years. The blacks were “slaves” with “whip-lashed backs” bound to “hard, dirty, dangerous work” in blistering foundries. ” The reader can feel the piercing pain of guilt in his heart as he reads this passage. How can my life be so good.
It is so unfair”, he says to himself. Their so-called, freedom, “had a dull ring. ” In this passage King portrays a vivid picture of the harsh black life and lets his reader know exactly what it was like. The reader can get a feel for the complete pain he could never even quite imagine to go through. King portrays’ all of this to his reader through his effective use of style, including diction, syntax, and detail. He makes the reader feel through persuasion.