Rhetoric Letter From Birmingham Jail

1121 WordsMay 6, 20115 Pages
Jennifer Smith Prof Franco 3/26/2011 Engl 1213 Standing up One of the most known advocates for equality is Martin Luther King Jr. He’s had some of the most moving, convincing and change inducing speeches of all time. His “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is no exception. King wrote the letter from a Birmingham jail cell in April on 1963 following his arrest for public demonstration. In the beginning of the letter, King describes his reason for writing the letter as a response to the Clergymen’s statement calling his “present activities unwise and untimely. ” (King). King uses the letter to help the Clergymen understand why he was in Alabama and why it was necessary for him to protest while in Alabama. King uses ethos, pathos and logos influences to support the claim that his presence and actions were necessary to cause much needed and long awaited change, the most powerful statements in the speech are written to the appeal to the audience’s logical side. In the letter he tells explains to his audience, the Clergymen, that he doesn’t usually respond to criticism stating “Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas”. This sets a tone of significance for the letter and calls for attention to the matter. This use of ethos helps build trust, confidence and credibility in his response. King uses many different forms of rhetoric throughout the letter. He targets the audience using all types of rhetoric with a great amount of focus on logos. The use of logos is primarily used throughout the letter by simply giving a logical example of how his statement is valid. To start, King stated “If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work.” (King). The fact that King seldom responds allows one to

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