In Dr. King's essay 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' he addresses the claims made about his arrest by the eight clergymen. His responses are very long and detailed, giving a very compelling and moving point of view. His letter is directed to his audience, which consists of white middle class citizens who Dr. King refers to as the 'white moderates'. Dr. King's letter is very persuasive because his use of pathos makes the audience think or imagine themselves in the situation. It is very poignant of him to write his letter this way. He is in touch with the views of his audience, which makes a greater impact on his readers. Dr. King uses antecdotes to make his readers see the injustice that would continue if there were no changes. It helps his audience to feel that they are a very powerful part of this issue and that they can make a difference.
Dr. King uses imagery in his writing that makes the audience visualize what he has seen. He knows that the white moderates have strong family values, so he reaches out to them by providing stories about children. There is one story about a little girl who has just seen an ad on television and when she asks her father if she can go, he has to look his daughter in the eye and tell her that ?Funtown is closed to colored children?(King 561). He then goes on to explain about how that forces that young child to grow up to feel inferior and to begin to hate because she has darker skin than the other children do. Then there is another story about the family taking a cross-country vacation and having to ??sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile?? because motels would not accept colored people (King 561). It ...
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...ll of the charges that were brought upon him and he answers them all in full detail and truth. He addresses his audience with honesty and respect, without making his readers feeling like they were being vanquished. Instead they were being made aware of what their actions were doing to society, and that they could make a difference. Dr. King uses a very strong pathos while speaking to his audience. He helps them to see things from his perspective. He uses detailed stories that make the reader feel like they are seeing what is going on. He also uses his ethos to show his respect for the audience, which in turn puts a positive spin on the negativity of the whole situation.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. ?Letter from Birmingham Jail.? Writing Arguments. Fifth ed.
Ed. John Ramage, et al. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001. 558-69.
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