Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From Birmingham Jail

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Civil rights activist and leader, Martin Luther King Jr., in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” expresses his frustration with the unjust laws of segregation that take away the equality promised to all Americans. He conveys a poignant tone to display the problem of racial segregation to both the “white moderates” and Civil Rights supporters. While raising awareness of racial segregation, King’s letter also serves to empower people to help the movement in its press for equality for all. King utilizes Aristotle’s principles of rhetoric - ethos, pathos, and logos - to further share and support his belief in equality. Although Martin Luther King Jr. was not a well known civil rights leader at the time he wrote this letter the way he wrote the letter made it known that he was…show more content…
wrote to appeal to their values and emotions. Pathos is commonly used in his letter to persuade others to help accomplish King’s goal of equality. At the end of the first page, he explains what he saw in Birmingham before being put in jail as an “ugly record of brutality.” The images that come to mind when reading this are enough to make a person want to help. Even though the vivid images evoke many powerful emotions, the talent of forming motivation through hypothetical stories has the same effect. King tells several hypothetical stories in order for his audience to see how the people struggling are treated, and how, through these experiences, they are “beginning to distort [their] personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people.” The effect the “white moderate” had on the African American’s way of life was not only physical abuse, but mental as well. Although his “shattered dreams,” King still had hope that one day this will all be possible for future generations. He uses techniques such as vivid imagery and hypotheticals to make the public relate to the

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