Letter from Birmingham Jail

Topics: Law, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 1 (344 words) Published: October 30, 2014
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, author Martin Luther King Jr. confirms the fact that human rights must take precedence over unjust laws. His expressive language and use of argumentation make his case strong and convincing. King uses pathos to invoke anger, sympathy and empathy, his impeccable use of logos makes his argument rational to everyone, and his use of ethos, especially the use of biblical references, makes his opinions more reliable. King’s arguments induce an emotional response in his readers. Although the letter was addressed to the eight clergymen, the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” speaks to a national audience. King’s use of pathos gives him the ability to encourage his fellow civil rights activists, evoke empathy in white conservatives, and allow the eight clergymen and the rest of his national audience to feel compassion towards the issue. King intended for the entire nation to read it and react to it. He “had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress” (King 267). He uses parallelism by repeating “I had hoped” to ironically accuse his attackers. By stating the obvious point and implying that moderates act as though this was not true, he accuses them of both hypocrisy and injustice. King is not speaking only of racism; he is speaking of injustice in general. He is a firm believer that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (262). King is saying that if we allow injustice to happen in some places, we risk it happening to everyone. We allow people to think that it is okay to act unjustly towards some individuals. The problem is that this kind of thinking can spread and infect other people to believe this is acceptable. This comes to endanger our entire society. Overall, King is saying that we need to fight against injustice anywhere we see it,...
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