Rhetorical Technique Essay (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Topics: Civil disobedience, Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 3 (907 words) Published: February 22, 2013
English 114
18 December 2012
Rhetorical Technique
Logos, Ethos, and Pathos represent the three rhetorical techniques, which bring balance to a paper by influencing the audience’s response to logic, ethics, and emotion. Logos consists of the facts and examples that back up an argument, providing a supportive backbone to a paper. Ethos pertains to the ethics of a paper, by citing the credibility of the author, thus convincing the readers to be more open-minded to the new ideas presented. Pathos uses emotion to help the author relate to the audience and push the point further. King wrote “The Letter from Birmingham Jail” in contrast to the Clergymen’s “A Call for Unity,” and used all three rhetorical techniques: logos, ethos, and pathos. Although all techniques provided the essential building blocks for a well-rounded essay, yet the use of logos was most effective for it added reason, and exemplified a purpose that appealed to the Clergymen in a way that showed authority, knowledge, and respect. In 1963 the eight white Clergymen from Birmingham addressed the courts as being fair in their letter “A Call for Unity”. They stated that King’s demonstrations as untimely, and extreme, furthermore that the protesters themselves would “incite hatred and violence” (1). The Clergymen then praised the police who kept the peace, and urged the residents of Birmingham to resist the protestors and withdraw support. (Clergymen 1) Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. responded to the Clergymen with the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he stated that the organizations and the injustice of the south brought him to the city of Birmingham. King addressed that the protestors were treated unjustly by the courts and city leaders (King 1). He acknowledged the fact that he put timing into perspective (King 2). Then King mentions his disappointment with the “white moderates” (King 4). King was surprised that the clergymen had called him an extremist, stating that...

Cited: A Group of Clergymen. “Call for Unity.” Letter to Martin Luther King Jr. 12 April 1963. TeachingAmericanHistory.org. 18 August 2008. Web. 4
Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Letter to A Group of Clergyman. 16 April 1968. African Studies Center. University of Pennsylvania. 17 January 2008. Web. 4
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