Rhetorical Analysis Pathos- Letter from Birmingham Jail

Topics: African American, White people, Black people Pages: 2 (432 words) Published: September 15, 2013
“A Call for Unity,” is a short editorial written and signed by priests, pastors, and rabbi’s throughout the Birmingham area urging African Americans to peacefully stand back from protesting and having sit ins and instead; unite with the rest of Birmingham to solve the problem of segregations. The argument calls for police men and whites to be calm and collective and to handle problems the way they have been. Dr. King argues several points and politely tells the priest, pastors, and rabbi’s who wrote “A Call for Unity” that they are wrong and their viewpoint would not help anything or change it. In his letter Dr. King uses all three of Aristotle’s categories of ethos, pathos, and logos. In this particular letter though Dr. King uses the category of Pathos the most; pathos is using persuasion through the form of emotion.

Dr. King uses very explicit examples in his letter going so far as to saying how police officers kick other African American men and woman, and how some have lost mothers and fathers to being lynched. He also explains how emotionally it hurts to see signs that say “white men only,” or “colored only in this section.” Dr. King also goes as far as to say his young daughter begins to hate her skin color because she cannot attend the local amusement park and his young son that is only 5 years old cannot figure out why white people hate black people if they are both the same species. He also describes how he feels they are like early Christians who had to deal with the Roman Empire, how they must go into the coliseum and face bears and lions.

The example that best counters the argument from the clergy men would be Dr. King explaining how awful the jails and the Birmingham police department are. He explains how cockroaches climb all through the jail cells and how small the cells are. The police refuse to serve them dinner because they want to sing praise to God and have fellowship; and they also cuss and push elderly women and kick and slap and kick...
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