Critical Writing Project 1
There are plenty of types of articles in writing, such as historical fiction, essay, and so on. Each
genre the writers will write has a huge difference from each other, because it will decide what
language the writer will use such as the choices of vocabularies and the structure of articles. For
readers, they need to know what genre this article is so that they can easily understand the article.
The audience is also a factor that the writer needs to considerate and determine which genre of
passage they will write. Therefore, there is a very important relationship between genre and
audience. I read three articles about how to tame a wild tongue if I were a man and MLK's letter.
These three articles all have one argument that they want to address or describe.
However, these selections have some different genres based on the different situations of issues
that writers want to address. MLK's letter wants to have a presentation to fight the discrimination,
so the method writer used is the letter (why? Who was this addressed to). For how to tame a wild
tongue, the author wants to describe the personal story about the ethnic identity, so the author uses
personal narrative genre. We can see there is some difference between different genres. The
audience in each article is different, so authors will use the different language in their articles. Some
articles will focus on other language speakers, so they will use some their native languages in their
writing which is difficult for people who cannot read it to understand. Therefore, there is a
connection between the audience and genre, and they influence each other.
How to Tame A Wild Tongue
In this article, the author recalls the experience that the teacher sent her to the corner to spell
her name which was a terrible experience. She thinks the personal identity is very important and
unique. Everyone should show their respects to others. Gloria is proud to be a Chicano. This article
focuses on the Chicano people and describes the situation among the different accent in every (all)
people. Therefore, the author writes this story about language. Some people do not need to be
shamed (word choice) about their native accent. The ethnic identity is a very important part of our
life. The audience is someone who has the same experience and wants to learn some languages.
The rhetorical situation in this passage is related to the genre and audience. The author analyzes the
audience first and then decide which rhetorical situation in this passage is. Therefore, most of the
audience in this article will be the Spanish speakers, so the writer used some Spanish words in this
passage. Then, she used some personal narrative genre to describe the story and experience that she
has been through. As for the rhetorical situation, the writer must considerate four parts which
includes audience, purpose, persona, and context. First, the writer will think about whom he wants
to write for. The Spanish speakers and someone who wants to know this language are the audiences.
These people can understand this article deeply because they have some similar experience.
Therefore, the writer uses some Spanish words in the article. (redundant)
According to the article, the Chicano people have suffered from insulting people who have the
accent which is different from Mexican and English native speaker accent, so the writer wants to
write this article to describe her personal story to inform explain that the personal identity is unique.
Persona is related to the tone or the attitude of the writers in the writing, and there is also a
relationship between the audience and the tone author uses. In this passage, the tone author uses is
not serious (what does this mean?), so the audience will not be some experts but the people who
are interested in this topic. Thus, the persona used in the article will show what the audience is easy.
The context is also a vital factor that determines what methods authors will use in their article, and
it includes some background information. For example, the story author has been through in her
childhood can show some identity issue, so this culture factors influenced the writer to start to argue
with this issue. The author wrote this article finally. As a result, we can find that there is a strong
connection between genre, audience, and rhetorical situation.
If I were a man (check format)
In this article, Solnit describes her personal story in her childhood. When she was young, she
experienced some issues about women and men (at what time period?
What was happening for
women?). She felt it was not fair that people have a different perspective about women and men.
At that time, people always think the only man can succeed, and women should only manage the
do nothing like a household. The author thinks it is kind of discrimination. The author also
mentioned that when she was very young, the girls cannot wear trousers because people think if
they wear do, their gender will be vague. People even do not think you are a girl if you wear a
trousers. However, the author likes the way she lives, and there is not any constraints about women.
Therefore, this story evoked the author to think about the women and men issue. She thinks that all
people have the same right no matter what genders they are. According to this article, this article
narrates the personal story about the difference between man and woman in the past. The writer
wants to state that man and woman all have the same status and right in our society. Therefore, this
passage is for someone who has experienced the same issue and someone who wants to know some
situation of the female at that time. In order to write for that audience, the author used the personal
narrative genre to describe what happened when she was very young and the situations the female
has been suffered. The writer used some specific examples about her own story to reflect the female
issue. The genre and audience are very important to analyze first so that readers can understand this
The rhetorical situation is also an indispensable factor that decides how the author writes this
article. First, the audience will be someone who has suffered from the same situation, and the writer
used some examples of her story in her childhood. Therefore, if someone has the same experience,
they will easily understand what this article writes about, so deciding the audience before writing
is very important. The purpose of this article is that the author wants to inform the audience about
the issue of female and male that happened in the past. The author uses the third person view so
that audience can understand her inside easily. The persona author uses is not serious (is her tone
sacrcastic, amgry, ironic?), so the audience will be someone who has the same story to have the
same enjoyment as the author. The author's attitude in this passage is that the author confirmed that
women and men have the same right and statue in our society. Context will decide how the author
write this article. Since the author has been experienced the difference between women and men,
she uses this background that she has been suffered to write this article. (The title alone indicates
that she is being ironic, don’t you think?
Some of the language she uses to describe if she had
been a son also demonstrates her sarcastic attitude that she’s trying to convey to her audience.)
MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail
This letter was written by Martin Luther King when he was in the Birmingham Jail. At that time,
he wanted to protest segregation. However, the clergymen disagreed with him and wrote some
articles on the newspaper to argue with him. King decided to write this letter to against those who
disagreed with him to fight for nonviolent (in his nonviolent fight for equality. In his letter, he stated
that the segregation laws should discuss (passive) in the court not the violent action on the street.
He was very angry and disappointed about the white people that all people in the United States
should have the same rights. Therefore, he constantly fights for the equality in his letter. This
passage wants to state that people need to fight for justice by nonviolent methods. Some actions
need to process (to happen/occur) in the courts not a violation on the street. Thus, this letter is
written for most the black people and someone who has suffered from that issue at that time. The
genre is a letter because King wanted to present it to the public. The audience will be all people in
America. The reason is that black people will focus on this presentation and the white people will
listen to this presentation because they want to argue with King. The purpose of this letter is that
King wants to use this letter to state his opinion and against the violence and discrimination. King
used a lot of powerful words to stress how important this presentation is. This letter was written in
the situation of the violent time, and the blacks did not have the same rights as white people.
In conclusion, there is some relationship between the genre, audience, and the rhetorical situation.
These factors are very important for writers and the audience. The reason is that writers need to
think about these factors in order to make the article easier for readers to understand.
This is a satisfactory beginning. You’ve explained the audience and the genre well; More detail
about the tone and the rhetorical situation will make this a stronger paper. Persona or tone comes
out through the author’s diction.
Types of tone include cautious disapproving, critical,
enthusiastic, humorous, sarcastic and many more.
Letter From Birmingham Jail 1
Letter from Birmingham Jail
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the Birmingham jail, where he was imprisoned as a participant in nonviolent demonstrations against segregation, Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in longhand the letter which follows. It was his response to a public statement of concern and
caution issued by eight white religious leaders of the South. Dr. King, who was born in 1929, did his undergraduate work at
Morehouse College; attended the integrated Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of six black pupils
among a hundred students, and the president of his class; and won a fellowship to Boston University for his Ph.D.
WHILE confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise
and untimely." Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms
that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for
constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like
to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of "outsiders
coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating
in every Southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliate organizations all across the
South, one being the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Whenever necessary and possible, we share staff,
educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago our local affiliate here in Birmingham invited us to be
on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour
came we lived up to our promises. So I am here, along with several members of my staff, because we were invited here. I am
here because I have basic organizational ties here.
Beyond this, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried
their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of
Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Greco-Roman world, I too am compelled
to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be
concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never
again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can
never be considered an outsider.
You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express
a similar concern for the conditions that brought the demonstrations into being. I am sure that each of you would want to go
beyond the superficial social analyst who looks merely at effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. I would not
hesitate to say that it is unfortunate that so-called demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham at this time, but I would say in
more emphatic terms that it is even more unfortunate that the white power structure of this city left the Negro community with no
IN ANY nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive,
negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no
gainsaying of the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city
in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of this country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes
in the courts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than
in any other city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievable facts. On the basis of them, Negro leaders sought to
negotiate with the city fathers. But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.
Then came the opportunity last September to talk with some of the leaders of the economic community. In these negotiating
sessions certain promises were made by the merchants, such as the promise to remove the humiliating racial signs from the
stores. On the basis of these promises, Reverend Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human
Rights agreed to call a moratorium on any type of demonstration. As the weeks and months unfolded, we realized that we were
the victims of a broken promise. The signs remained. As in so many experiences of the past, we were confronted with blasted
hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon us. So we had no alternative except that of preparing for direct
action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and national
community. We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved. So we decided to go through a process of self-purification. We
Letter From Birmingham Jail 2
started having workshops on nonviolence and repeatedly asked ourselves the questions, "Are you able to accept blows without
retaliating?" and "Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?" We decided to set our direct-action program around the Easter
season, realizing that, with exception of Christmas, this was the largest shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong
economic withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this was the best time to bring pressure on
the merchants for the needed changes. Then it occurred to us that the March election was ahead, and so we speedily decided to
postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that Mr. Conner was in the runoff, we decided again to postpone
action so that the demonstration could not be used to cloud the issues. At this time we agreed to begin our nonviolent witness the
day after the runoff.
This reveals that we did not move irresponsibly into direct action. We, too, wanted to see Mr. Conner defeated, so we went
through postponement after postponement to aid in this community need. After this we felt that direct action could be delayed no
You may well ask, "Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are exactly right
in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and
establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks
so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. I just referred to the creation of tension as a part of the work of the
nonviolent resister. This may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have
earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for
growth. 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, we must see the need of having
nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism
to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed
that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. We therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our
beloved Southland been bogged down in the tragic attempt to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that our acts are untimely. Some have asked, "Why didn't you give the new
administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this inquiry is that the new administration must be prodded about
as much as the outgoing one before it acts. We will be sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Mr. Boutwell will bring the
millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is much more articulate and gentle than Mr. Conner, they are both
segregationists, dedicated to the task of maintaining the status quo. The hope I see in Mr. Boutwell is that he will be reasonable
enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from the devotees of
civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and
nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges
voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has
reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the
oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct-action movement that was "well timed" according to the timetable of
those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "wait." It rings in the
ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This "wait" has almost always meant "never." It ...
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