Martin Luther King Jr: An Analysis of the Letter from Birmingham Jail
Analysis Of the Letter from Birmingham Prison Composed by Martin Luther King Jr., the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is a paragon of persuasive writing that takes advantage of ethos, pathos, and logos in order to convince its readers to rake MLK’s side during rhe American civil rights motion, Using values defines MLK as a credible writer; making use of pathos interest his audience on an individual level: and making use of logo designs layers his arguments and claims with irrefutable thinking and logic.
By utilizing all three methods, MLK is able to hold the attention of his readers and encourage them to take his side in the battle versus partition. The speaker of this letter is who was “restricted” physically, but not mentally, in a jail cell at the time of writing this letter. MLK capitalizes or the reality that he is in a prison cell to develop himself as a far more trustworthy author in numerous ways. Initially, he writes this entire letter impromptu and does not edit it in anyways that will make it superficial for the readers.
Because the letter is not veneered in any way, it is more credible to its readers since all the words in the letter are honest and genuine, Secondly, MLK quotes from many well-known “extremists”, such as Jesus Christ. Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, Off the op of his head to justify how he really is enthusiastic and dedicated to his cause. It is not an easy feat to come up with the quotes of famous “extremists” in a jail cell.
On another note, MLK also identifies himself as a credible author by noting our his qualifications. He starts by specifying that” [he hasl the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference” (King 204), then takes fantastic efforts in describing the head office of the SCLC and its lots of associated organizations across the South. His care in explaining the size of the SCLC infers that he has the important experience and leadership needed to sustain he civil rights movement.
This strengthens his image due to the fact that people wish to be led by a defiant and able leader, which is exactly how he has portrayed himself as in the first couple of paragraphs, By showing that he has an extensive range af understanding and ardent enthusiasm towards the civil liberties motion, MLK has the ability to portray himself as a leader who numerous want to follow. The function of the letter, to persuade its audience to fight against segregation, is implanted into the readers minds through the heavy use of pathos In paragraph 14 of rhe letter, MLK’s usage of pathos, in the type of sentimentalized ypothetical circumstances. llows his audience to empathize with the scenarios that he is explaining. The hypothetical circumstances that MLK lists in this paragraph are sensible and individual not only to his black audience, but likewise to his white audience. To begin, he gets his black audience psychological by pointing out that segregation has actually triggered ‘Vicious mobs to lynch [their] moms and dads at will and drown [their] sisters and siblings at impulse” (207 ).
Even though this images is morbid enough to raise ire versus the injustice of partition, it does not completely interest rhe whites because lynching has actually never ever been issue in their own lives, Therefore, in order to grah the attention of the Whites, he narrates a long scenario where the reader has to stammer and look for words to describe to his six-year-old child why she can not go to a public theme park, all the while enjoying his own child destroy and seeing “ominous clouds of inferioritT begin to form in her “little mental sky” (207 ).
As compelling as this story is, MLK’s use ot pathos does nor end herm Rather, he continues to try his audience’s emotions by specifying another individual scenario where the reader has to “create an answer for a five-year-old son Who is asking. Daddy, why do white individuals deal with colored peoples so indicate?’ (201-208). As the majority of us know, the normal white family consists ofa couple, a child and daughter. y utilizing the examples that involve a sad boy and child, MLK has the ability to get his white audience ro view the text by themselves individual levels, How many times has a parent stumbled over what to inform his kids When something dismaying takes place? For example, What might a daddy state to his boy and daughter when their pet dog passes away? This is a circumstance that the majority of MLKs audience can connect to. Now that the white audience understands how egregation is impacting the blacks, they might haue a change of mind and begin supporting MLK’s cause.
This shows that whenever an argument or scenario exists in a more personal method, mainy through to utilize of pathos, it becomes more effective and controlling. Throughout the entire letter, MLK uses reasoning and reasoning to support his lots of points. In one example, MLK uses a crucial tone to state how “shallow understanding from individuals ot great will is more discouraging than absolute misconception from people of ill will” (210 ).
He attacks the white moderates with this declaration, saying that even though the mindsets of the white oderates might not be malevolent, the moderates are actually preventing the black’s fight for flexibility with their “lukewarm approval” (210 ). MLK even reaches saying that “the Negro’s excellent stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is nor rhe White Resident’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate” (210 ).
He supports this bold claim by stating that the white moderates are “more dedicated to “order” than justice; choose negative peace which is the absence of tension to a favorable peace which is the presence of justice; and paternalistically think that they can set the schedule for another an’s flexibility” (210 ). Then he lists his last support, declaring that the white moderates “live by a legendary idea ot time and continuously encourages the Negro to await a “easier seasonW (210 ).
This last declaration generates MLK’s tone of inconvenience towards the white moderates and likewise stresses the subject of his letter: the fight for civil rights is taking place now since “justice too long postponed is justice rejected” (207 ). One can only assume how a white moderate may feel after reading this passage and noticing the tone of inconvenience in MLK’s writinB After reading this scathing passage, the white audience will most likely arry out their lives more carefully than previously, hoping to hinder themselves from doing the actions that a white moderate, as explained by MLK, would do.
Therefore, this passage is extremely effective due to both the pragmatic assistances that underlie it and the important nature of it. In the “Letter from Birmingham Prison”. Martin Luther King Jr. uses values, pathos, and logos to bolster his claims and arguments concerning the civil rights movement. His success at utilizing these 3 parts of efficient writing does nothing but augment the support that he receives from his readers.