12 February 2015
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was written to address the public criticism he and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference received from eight clergymen. In his letter, King shows off his fiery emotion throughout his letter. However, King does not force his beliefs upon his readers. Rather, he hopes that his readers will see his perspective on the situation through an emotional appeal. If the readers are able to recognize the injustice and inequality suffered by the African American community, perhaps they can. The fourteenth and fifteenth paragraphs were a true testament to his passion and ambition for equal rights.
King uses pathos in paragraphs fourteen and fifteen to incite sympathy from his readers. He starts the paragraph with a fact: “We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights” (King 217). He shows the readers that the African Americans have “waited” too long for right that belongs to them. This embarks feelings of sadness onto the reader; because African Americans are being denied rights that are “God given” (King pg.218). After that, he flows into a metaphor comparing the nations of America to Asia and Africa. He compares the speed of development between the nations by saying America is at a “horse and buggy” speed while Asia and Africa is “moving jet like speed towards political independent” (King pg.217). He makes this statement to show how pitiful it is to have third world countries develop faster than an advance nation like America It also conveys King’s disappoint with how much progress is being made towards getting equal rights for everyone. King’s than express his ...
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...y, diction, and religious allusion, King does not demand for equality in a disrespectful manner. Instead, King reasons with the clergymen. He simply asks for their compassion of the situation. King knows that he and the black community alone do not stand a chance trying to demand equality. It takes all of society to build a strong nation. Thus, if the clergymen are able to relate on an emotional level to his fight for social justice, equality can be achieved.
Jacobus, Lee A., Ed. “Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’” A World of
Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford / St. Martins,
2010. 211-13. Print.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” A World of Ideas: Essential Readings
for College Writers. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford / St. Martins, 2010.
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