Essay on Letter from Birmingham Jail Brief Analysis

850 WordsOct 8, 20134 Pages
‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ Rhetorical Analysis Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was arrested and placed in Birmingham jail after leading a non-violent march to protest racism in the streets of Alabama- a highly segregated state at the time. There he received a newspaper containing “A Call for Unity,” which was written by eight white Alabama clergymen criticizing King and his movement’s methods; this prompted King to write a letter in response to the critics. Martin Luther King Jr. employs ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade and demonstrate to the critics and other readers the many injustices of segregation. Martin Luther King Jr. exercised the rhetorical method of ethos to present his…show more content…
For example, in lines 69-76, King answers the critics questioning of his use of direct action and marches to protest against segregation. He states that “nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored” (71-73). This explanation is so broken down and easy to understand that it would not make sense to disregard it and agree with the critics. Another instance in which King uses logos is when, as mentioned above, he references the Holocaust and Hitler’s mistreatment of Jews in lines 181 to 185. He discusses how the definitions of “illegal” and “legal” were skewed during that horrific time period. King connects how the definitions in Germany during the Holocaust are similar to the definitions during the Civil Rights Movement about segregation. This appeals to the critics and readers logos because it forces them to think about how terrible the Holocaust was and the treatment of Jews, and realize that the Jews and the African-Americans were being treated in a similar sense. The way King uses logos, is very effective because he makes his ideas and points have sound reasoning while politely diminishing the reasoning of the

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