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FYS Winter 2015//Wright

SWA #3
Mapping the Stages of Thought/Building the Analysis
FYS Winter 2015

Learning to summarize includes thinking beyond the first he says this, then he says
that model of summary. To truly help your readers understand Kings letter and to
convince them of the significance of his message, your essay must first summarize and
then explain the stages of thought by which King carries us as readers from the
beginning to the end of his argument.
Step One
Using the outline provided to you on the class blog, begin the process by summarizing
the stages of thought in his letter:

summarize the main claimthe thesisof the letter.

summarize each section of the letter. A section might include one

paragraph of his text or many paragraphs of his text. Your main goal is to
identify and summarize each stageor stepof his argument. Your
summary should include the main point of each section and any
supporting details that significantly support the point of each

NOTE: Your summary paragraphs must be written in your own words. Make
sure that your summary paragraphs are comprehensive, accurate, neutral, and
independent. See the course handouts on summary for more help.
Remember that this summary is not an essayyet. You are only writing out a sort of
lengthy map in paragraph form.
Step Two
Once you write a summary map of Kings stages of thought in Letter from Birmingham
Jail. how will you develop your summary and compose the analysis?
Using the map youve created, explain more fully the argumentative strategy King tries
to employ in his argument. In other words, identify and explain the function and purpose
of each section in your own words. Remember that you must never include your own
opinion of Kings argument in your summary and analysis essay. Rather, you must
analyze and explain his argument to someone who has never read his letter.
To make this process more manageable, first write a say/do draft of your summary and
analysis. Simply make two columns in a Word document. In the first column, write in
(copy and paste) your sections of summary. This will be your say column; you have
summarized what King says in his letter.
In the next column, write an analysis of each of your sections of summary, explaining
what King is trying to do for his readers. This will be your do column. In it, you must

FYS Winter 2015//Wright

analyze Kings audience. Then, for each stage of thought, write a short
paragraph, explaining how that stage of thought appeals to his particular
audience. Use AWR Analyzing Appeals 130.

identify the primary kind of reasoning employed by King in each stage of thought,
explaining the reasoning carefully and thoroughly. Use AWR 126-130 for help.

identify Kings main claims, grounds, and warrants in each stage of thought,
providing examples of Kings kinds of evidence. Use AWR Types of Evidence
131 for help.

Heres an excerpt of a sample of the say/do draft:

Kings Introduction (paragraph 1)
In Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King,
Jr., a prominent minister and American Civil Rights
leader, offers a passionate defense of civil
disobedience and popular protest in favor of racial
equality and freedom in the United States. He begins
by explaining his locationthe Birmingham city
jailand states that he will attempt to present a
patient and reasonable response to the criticisms of
his work made by prominent White ministers in

King chooses to write in an
epistolary (letter) form, the style
chosen by Paul, the Apostle of
Jesusa form used to express
the need for unity and brotherly
love during the conflicts of the
early Christian church. So, King
establishes common ground he
holds with his audience. He a)
includes the White ministers as
brothers and colleagues in the
Christian tradition of ministry and
b) evokes the historical and
religious call for unity and
brotherhood during the Civil
Rights crisis. King also states that
his letter will address the White
minsters criticism in patient and
reasonable terms. So, he shows
professional deference and respect
to the ministersand also
compliments themin order to
prepare them for his defense.

Kings Introduction (paragraphs 2-3)

King first turns his attention to the accusation that he
is meddling as an outsider in the affairs of
Birmingham. He insists that hes been invited by
affiliated Christian organizations to assist in a
nonviolent direct-action program and then connects
this work to the tradition of the Apostle Paul, the early
founder of the Christian church. In fact, King insists

King defends his presence as a

supposed outsider in Birmingham,
arguing that he is in fact a
representative of legitimate Christian
organizations working for justice. He
states that he has not intruded in
Birmingham but was invited by

FYS Winter 2015//Wright

that he is responding to a call for aid from
organizations in Birmingham to which he is dutybound as a Christian leader to respond.

these organizations to assist in a

nonviolent direct-action program.
He then broadens his defense by
asserting that he has come to
Birmingham in the tradition of the
Apostle Paul to spread the gospel of
freedom and refers to his action as
a response to a call for aid. So, he
connects his presence and actions
to the Christian tradition and to the
principles of freedom inherent in
Christianity. How can the White
ministers deny these logical and
ethical appeals?

Once you complete this do/say draft, you can begin a new draft in which you combine
both your summary and analysis in a reasonable sequence or order. Make sure to very
carefully consult the tips for transitions in TSIS (pp. 30-41).
Post your completed SWA #3 on your blog by 8am on Friday, January 16.