Letter from Birmingham Jail Rhetorical Analysis
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written during 1963, when African Americans were fighting for black and white equality. We can see this by the vocabulary that he uses, like “Negro”, which was used around that time period and no longer used anymore. We can also see this through the context of the letter, that King wants freedom for African Americans. The purpose of this letter is that Martin Luther King is trying to convince the clergymen that him and his “people” demonstrated because it was absolutely necessary at that time. When doing this, he uses condemnatory and persuasive tones to try to influence the reader to agree with him. Martin Luther King provides a valid argument using appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos throughout his piece.
King uses logos in his letter to backup his counter argument against the clergymen. In his letter he tries to support the fact that “[they] had no alternative except to prepare for direct action,” However, Martin Luther King, Jr. has several logical examples of evidence to prove his point. He proves his point in many ways, including using historical evidence in his letters, like when he writes. He also has some logical fallacies, such as appeals to authority, like when he writes, “Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...” This is an appeal to authority because he is using a famous person that most people respect, and telling the audience that he thinks this, so it must be true. Even though he has some logical fallacies, his essay is very logical and contains valid logos. King uses plenty of examples to make sure the reader understands his point.
Along with using logos, Martin Luther King, Jr. also uses ethos. He is reasonable, knowledgeable, and moral. He shows that he is reasonable when he says, “We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional God-given rights. This is reasonable...