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Letter from Birmingham Jail - Rhetorical Analysis

            Civil rights activist, Martin Luther King in his response to his minister, "Letter from Birmingham jail" he argues that racial segregation is unfair. He supports this claim by using emotional strategies, such as pathos, ethos, and logos. Creating multiple tones, like disbelief, and disappointment. King's purpose is to persuade his audience to view his actions as beneficial to society to maintain equal rights. He convinces his audience to support his argument using rhetorical devices, as mentioned, to appeal to the audience's emotions. King uses emotional appeal to manipulate the readers and the WASP community to believe what he wants them to believe. He does this by using pathos; emotional appeal, creating a feeling of sympathy and proximity. For instance, "Our hopes had been blasted and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us." Here King is showing the audience how African Americans felt, how hopes was only a long shot with the actions of Whites. African Americans were left with nothing but sorrow and disappointment. Hence, readers become outraged of these actions. King really emphasizes to his audience the horrors of living an African American life. .
             King also used ethos; credibility, to appeal to the audience. Examples of this would be, "I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference". Thus reminding the readers of his position of leadership in the religious community. This allows him to be able to have equal qualifications with the eight ministers. Additionally, he states, "Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid." Therefore, he is comparing himself to Paul, saying that he is a prophet for freedom. This is providing him with the highest level of authority in the field of religion, suggesting that he has the support of God to wage his war of injustice. He is showing the audience that he is of higher moral standards since God has chosen him.

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