Letter from a Birmingham Jail

759 Words4 Pages
Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham jail” is a mix of emotional passion and logical precision that seeks to achieve meaningful cause. The letter was a response to white clergy who were critical of his intention in Birmingham naming him an “outsider”. King’s response to critics through a letter explains his arguments vividly and effectively. King wrote the letter in a way that he agreed with his critics, nonetheless still using their words against them in logic harmony. King’s letter illustrates the three artistic proofs used to convince an audience. This paper will discuss the ethos, pathos, and logos modes of persuasion as well as writing structure as seen in King’s “The letter from Birmingham jail”.
King’s letter
…show more content…
Any law that degrades human personality is unjust” (Jnr, 2012).
King’s letter also appeals to the emotions. He uses pathos to appeal to his audience and at the same time influence them. For instance, he uses overwhelming truths to justify his actions he says, “When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a negro , living constantly in tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect” this will explain to the audience why it is difficult for him and his contemporaries to wait (Jnr, 2012).
King is expressive in answering his critics because of his ability to respond eloquently without invoking anyone, his ability to see both sides of the argument, and because of his aptitude to appeal to moral certitude. He poses fruitful questions and according to Savini, good questions guide someone towards developing constructive arguments (Savini, 2012, p. 57). For instance, King posses very constructive questions like “Why direct action? Why attend, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path? ” (Jnr, 2012). It is worth to note that not all questions are good, so one needs to assess the questions in a variety of contexts to determine if they help their cause (Savini, 2012, p. 57).
King is weary of his primary audience as well as the secondary one. He writes the letter specifically as an answer to Birmingham’s clergymen. When writing it is important to

More about Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Get Access