"My Wood" by E.M Forrester and "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr.

Essay by Twinkster0College, Undergraduate November 2003

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Both "My wood" and "Letter from Birmingham Jail" use persuasion in their arguments; however, they both use another form of argumentation. Through their different forms, they convey influential opinions that open up the reader's mind. Although both essays are well constructed, they are not of equal persuasiveness.

In their essays, King and Forrester successfully use different forms of logic. In "My Wood" Forrester uses the form of narration to give the reader a glance into his life and perspective as a human being. This supports his argument because he personally owns land and he testifies to the effects it has on one's self. He uses deductive reasoning because he begins his essay by telling the reader about himself, then to generalizing the human race as a whole. He does this to focus his ownership problem, then broadens to a worldly perspective. Although Forrester takes these approaches in his essay, King's essay takes a different route.

He uses inductive reasoning through straight forward, formal writing in which he writes of prejudices in the United States and how it contradicts the Bible and good morals in general. This type of logic aids in appealing to his opposition, the clergy. He knew they would be familiar with the bible, appreciate his knowledge, and it would easily establish credibility.

The two essays have different approaches and organization of their arguments. Forrester uses the classical five-part system to set up the argument in a cause-effect outline. He does this to express his belief that land owned ends up owning its owner when he writes, "Property produces men of weight." On the other hand, King uses the straw man approach to build up the opponents' argument, then follows by demonstrating the weaknesses of their logic. Overall, he uses the problem-solution method when he writes, "Let us...