Letter from Birmingham Jail Analysis Essay Example



First, King uses Anaphora to create shame and fear for the clergy.  King has seen many racist acts. He talked about we have waited for 340 years for rights. Then,  he goes on to explain what are some tragic events he has seen; “when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on  television and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored people.” He uses anaphora to make a list of what he has seen and creates pathos because he wants the clergy to feel guilty of making him see all of this, and they still won’t give them rights, and he keeps using “when” to show that he has more to say, but he is saying the bare minimum.  Also, King explains his reasons for why he is at Birmingham because they have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in”. King states, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here ...I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.”King uses anaphora, so he can explain his reasons why he was there. King used it as a way to show that he is going to win no matter what. Nevertheless, how he explains his reasons can make the clergy fearful because they know who he is, and they know that he will do anything in his power to win. Furthermore, King said, “when your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodyness".” King was talking about how unfair the rights are. Thus, was listing down certain situations that would never happen in his time because of the injustice. King also made the clergy feel guilty, but he talked about how disrespectful they were, by telling them how they have never gotten the respected title of “Mrs” or “Mr”. The black people will always have to be vigilant around their surroundings because of how injustice it was. He used anaphora with “when” because he wanted the clergy to feel how they felt in that time, and using “when” helped because he could keep going on with the sentence.

More importantly, King uses vivid imagery to create ethos.  As King was describing what he witnessed of how injustice his life is, King claimed, “Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little  personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people.” King utilizes vivid imagery in order to make the clergy envision what they have done. initially, this creates ethos because it demonstrates as King is a wonderful writer as a result causes the Clergy to believe him with his descriptive words, and how he has seen it previously, which establishes authority, and power. Thus, creating ethos because of how he can describe every moment so clearly. King is clarifying what civil disobedience is to the clergy, and he uses a comparison from the early Christian time period and points out how they used civil disobedience; “It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.” King generates vivid imagery to make ethos because he is making the clergy imagine how the early Christians were willing to do anything, and this evokes ethos because King knows his stuff, and if the clergy is very religious they can know what he is saying, and it will give King ethos because they know he isn’t lying and his sources can be trusted. As King explains the Clergy looking bad using how what Hitler did is legal because they don’t want them to protest peacefully, King remarks, “We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal.”King manipulates the clergy using vivid imagery because he makes the clergy imagine how if they say that civil disobedience is bad. People can think the other way around, and they want them to use violence, and King uses Hiter as an example to make them look dumb. This gives ethos because it makes King seem very smart and knows how to get in the minds of the Clergy by making that comparison.