Ethos In Letter From Birmingham Jail

Decent Essays

On April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote an open letter to African-Americans and all Americans who care about the civil right movement. In order to defend the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism and respond to being called an outsider, King wrote his famous letter “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” So why the King’s letter is so powerful and convincing to the readers? Is it because of his identity of civil-rights leader and his credibility(ethos)? Is it by the reason of the argument “there are just laws and unjust laws" (King) which he exerted numerous theoretical basis with utmost efforts(logos)? Or, It’s due to his passionate writing style and the description of the image of the oppressed black people(pathos). Actually, It’s all of them. These are the rhetorical method King used in his letter. At the beginning of the letter, King had already manifested his great ethos. He showed his sincere attitude to readers to better answer their questions, “But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms” (King), which enabled him to establish his trust in some demanding readers. Moreover, at the end of the letter, he wrote, “I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother” (King). This shows

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