Rhetorical Analysis Of Letter From A Birmingham Jail

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Amidst the intense Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and put in solitary confinement for peacefully protesting racial discrimination and injustice in Birmingham, Alabama. It was during this time that Dr. King, refusing to sit idly by, wrote his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” one of the most inspiring documents in history. With his respectful nature, humility, compassion, optimism, and determination, King responded to a group of white Alabama clergymen who had condemned the civil rights protests as extreme in their open letter, “A Call for Unity.” Although his letter was directed towards a small group of eight men, his words eventually reached the minds and hearts of the entire country. Throughout the letter, Dr. King does a tremendous job of supporting his argument with the three elements of Aristotle’s rhetorical appeal. He ended up creating a very persuasive letter, one that effectively uses ethos in establishing his character, logos in providing reason and logic, and pathos in reaching human emotions. To use the appeal of ethos, a writer is responsible for establishing common ground with their readers. One way a writer can establish common ground with their readers is to prove their credibility by naming their credentials. This will help a writer be seen as an authority figure because it tells their readers they have experience in the subject. However, a successful writer must remember not to take their authority for
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