Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

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Martin Luther King 's use of figurative language in "Letter from Birmingham Jail"� is an effective way for him to reinforce his thesis about non-violent protest and race discrimination. The figurative language in the letter enhances the letters persuasive qualities of pathos, ethos, and logos to evoke emotion and sway readers toward King 's point of view. King is the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was formed in 1957. He was arrested for protests of a non-violent nature against racial injustices in Birmingham, Alabama and wrote this letter to the eight Alabama clergymen while in jail. Through the figurative language in his letter he creates a bridge between his letter and white moderates, so that all readers can see his point of view.

Developing the quality of pathos in a piece of writing is a way of shaping the readers feelings. King appeals to the emotions of the people thorough his use of pathos. He explains that he is in the Birmingham jail because of injustices that took place in Birmingham Alabama. He says: Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

King states how the Apostle Paul carried the gospel of Jesus Christ over the land, and thus compares himself to him. One way King addresses the eight clergymen and justifies his presence in Birmingham is by comparing himself to the Apostle Paul. He is trying to take the gospel of freedom over the land of America. This idea relates to peoples emotion because most people are religious and believe in God and Jesus Christ. Comparing himself to the Apostle Paul strikes deep emotion in most people



Cited: 1. King, Martin Luther. "Letter from Birmingham Jail."� Mastin, Antoinette M. and Miner, Marlene R. Writing with Confidence. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. All of the Martin Luther King Jr. quotations I used came from this text.

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