Letter from a Birmingham jail by Martin Luther King Jr
Letter from a Birmingham jail by Martin Luther King Jr. mentions the cruelty of racism and describes his endless battles against it.King does this in an effective and understandable way.He establishes his position supported by historical and biblical reference and use of rhetorical devices such as ethos,pathos, and logos.With the use of his rhetorical devices he described the ways of the way of the Birmingham community and their beliefs which brought to light the overall issues dealing with segregation.
Through the use of ethos he describes the status of the city of Birmingham,their beliefs ,and characteristic spirit.The ethos surround the little bits and pieces and segregation because ethos describes the community as a whole.He says, “Since you have been influenced by the view which argues against outsiders coming in.” and “Never again can we afford to live with the narrow,provincial outside agitator idea.”
It tells us how the community thought of black people as outsiders.The use of the ethos benefits King’s position by pointing out the flows in the status of the city of Birmingham.In using pathos,he obtained the ability to emotionally connect to the reader.This made for for a stronger pose on his part.He even starts his letter with the use of pathos saying “While confined here in the Birmingham city jail….”This instantly makes the reader think of the reasons he became imprisoned and of how unjust the reasons were,which made the reader feel bad for King.
More upsetting pathos is used as well,such as “We realized that we were the victims of a broken promise and “Our hopes had been blasted,and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us.” They became very useful because every single person has had that feeling of getting their hopes up only to have them shot down plenty of times before.Every person can connect to the statement which became useful tactics to King’s letter.He effectively makes use of logos throughout his letter.
For instance, he gives a response to the clergymen’s claim that King’s demonstrations were unwise and untimely.He also said “Birmingham is is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.” He states that the black community had no other alternative other than to prepare for direct action.This is one of the examples he effectively uses logos.Allusions,another one of the many rhetorical devices he uses.He refers to events in history,historical figures, and refers to the bible to carry many of his thoughts and he uses one to describe about every situation.
He explains why he needs to lead all the marches by referring to the bible saying “Just as the prophets left their villages and carried their Thus says the Lord I am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town.” He uses this to describe how no idea is accepted without one leading it and how he is compelled to do so.King quoted the saying “Justice too long delayed is justice denied” to say that they longer they wait to take action, the actions to bring out justice will be denied.
For example how something is a law,does not make it just or mean that it should be followed he uses “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was legal.” The use of allusions allows king to prove his points by mentioning and referring to events that the people already live by.Maybe the the strongest aspect of king’s letter was the counterarguments.Ny pointing out the opposing arguments by the clergymen, King has the ability to disprove those arguments and give a stronger stance.
King also lets the reader see and hear both sides of the story but king acquires a stronger opinion.He points out that clergymen’s statement fails to express a similar concern for conditions that brought about the demonstrations rather than just the demonstrations themselves.King disproves that statement by saying “It is unfortunate that the demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but is more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the negro community with no other alternative.The use of counterarguments is the strongest part in King’s letter.
All of the rhetorical devices king uses in his letter from Birmingham jail make his opinion,refuting argument,and overall stance much stronger.The use of ethos, pathos, logos, allusions, and opposing arguments worked greatly in King’s favor.King’s response to the clergymen’s statement provides proof of the unjust situations taking place in Birmingham and also persuades the reader to agree with King’s stance.