Allusions In Letter From Birmingham Jail

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One obstacle King faced in his fight for freedom was relating the suffering that minorities were enduring to the privileged white class. Wisely, King used allusions in his writing that allowed readers to draw from well-known events in history and relate them to their own world. King engaged in civil disobedience, but as he points out, so did biblical figures. "It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar; on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake" (210). King's audience of Christian clergymen would have quickly understood this reference. By relating the Nazi Regime in Germany, King adds even more validity to his argument that not only it is necessary to stand up against…show more content…
First,King utilizes the ethos in his opening few paragraphs by both giving reasons for writing his letter and explaining his previous actions and arguments (203-204). His diction causes the reader to trust what King is saying. Secondly, King uses logic, or pathos, throughout his letter in his justifications and explanations. He stands beside his actions and principles, and urges his readers to support him (204). "I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes" (204). Finally, King appeals to his reader's emotional side through his use of pathos. Throughout the letter, King provides heartbreaking examples of the injustices that have occurred due to racism. "But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters [...]" (207). Descriptions of the effects of racism such as these make it difficult to argue against change. King's effective writing positively argues for a society without racism, injustice, and
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