Where Is Justice: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Topics: Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus Pages: 3 (1023 words) Published: October 5, 2008
Where is the Justice?
Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter "Letter from Birmingham Jail" strikes a cord with the audience because of his expert use of pathos throughout the piece. King invokes many different emotions when he uses pathos. He invokes anger, sympathy, empathy, and love to emphasize his thesis that injustice has seized the civil rights movement and therefore, he is in Birmingham City Jail. King says, "I am in Birmingham because injustice is here." Throughout King's letter he often compares himself to biblical characters to increase the pathos of respect for his cause, the cause of truth. For example: "Just as the eighth century prophets left their little villages and carried their thus saith the Lord' far beyond the boundaries of their home towns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid." By comparing his errand to the errands of the Lord's apostles, the audience feels the grandeur of injustice because of his effort to bring the world to the truth, just as Jesus and His apostles. King also states the question of their condemnation because they are the minority. "Isn't this like condemning Jesus because His unique God-Consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to His will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion?" At this point King compares his cause to Jesus' cause. He says, in essence, that the civil rights movement is a God-like event. Furthermore, King discusses the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who lived a higher moral law and refused to lower their standards, even if it meant death. King discusses how they, as well as many early Christians, were endangered because of their unfaltering faith in the truth. King declares that Jesus was an extremist for love, and so is...
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