Martin Luther King Rhetorical Analysis

Submitted By mad32795
Words: 1335
Pages: 6

Madison Davis
English 102

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was put into imprisonment and while he was imprisoned he wrote a letter while he was in Birmingham jail. After the letter came out it and became published, millions of copies were sold nationwide. His letter was trying to persuade and educate clergyman about the injustice and harm done to blacks. Martin Luther King tried to persuade his audience by using different kinds of arguments such as, pathos, logos, and ethos. These arguments help him build his views, and creditability throughout his letter. Pathos is one kind of argument that is used to persuade an audience. This type of argument is an emotional state of the audience, meaning the audience's perspective. There are a few examples of pathos King uses throughout his letter. One example he gives is him trying to explain to his six year old daughter why she can not go to the public amusement park (pg 158). The amusement park was closed to colored children and the little girl had tears starting up in her eyes. King wrote that there was a build up of bitterness in his daughter's face towards white people (pg 158-159). With this example, it gives a sensibility of how the little girl felt when she was told she could not go to the amusement park. Children or adults should be treated the same no matter what color. He gives examples of blacks everyday life to put the audience in their shoes. An example Martin Luther King gives is the police kicking, cursing and even killing people of the black color (pg 158). King makes an example about how they have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights (pg 158) . He also makes another pathos example, that a five year old boy asked why do white people treat colored people so mean? (pg 159). When you are traveling and trying to stay at a motel and will not be accepted because they only take white people, this makes the people trying to stay some where humiliated and the audience can image how they might have felt (pg 159). Pathos is an emotional connection to the audience. Logos is the second kind of argument he makes in his letter. This argument shows many examples, and draws conclusions. King makes a clear distinction of the definitions of just and unjust laws (pg 159). Unjust and just laws are two types of laws King wrote about. He wrote that he would obey just laws. St. Augustine stated that an unjust law is no law at all (pg 159). "A just law is a man made code that corresponds with the moral law or the law of God." (pg 159). This means that a just law is a law that someone made up that has to do with what is right and what is wrong. Unjust law is a code that is out of order with the moral law (pg 159). In the letter, King wrote about St. Thomas Aquinas and he said ''that an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.'' (pg 159 - 160). The essay states that any law that raises human personality is just and if any law degrades human personality is unjust (pg 159). An example of unjust law is segregation because it damages human personalities (pg 160). Segregation is an unjust law because it is a human law but it is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. King gives examples of immoral or unjust laws, for example, Hitler's laws (pg 161). He also refers to Hitler and how things were legal and illegal (pg 161). He quotes that if he could live in a communist country where Christian faith was suppressed, that he would disobey that country's anti religious laws (pg 161). King meant that if the Christian faith was not allowed in a communist country, he would disobey the law. One example of an unjust law is voting, only certain people are allowed to vote (pg 160). This is an unjust law because there are results of being denied the right to vote because of a person's minority. When King was trying to make a point between just and unjust laws, people who break unjust laws with the