Argument of a Persuasive Essay: Letter from Birmingham Jail King’s essay “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he addresses the claims made about his arrest by the eight clergymen. His responses are very long and detailed, giving a very compelling and moving point of view. His letter is directed to his audience, which consists of white middle class citizens who Dr. King refers to as the “white moderates”. Dr. King’s letter is very persuasive because his use of pathos makes the audience think or imagine themselves in the situation. It is very poignant of him to write his letter this way. He is in touch with the views of his audience, which makes a greater impact on his readers. Dr. King uses antecdotes to make his readers see the injustice that would continue if there were no changes. It helps his audience to feel that they are a very powerful part of this issue and that they can make a difference.
Dr. King uses imagery in his writing that makes the audience visualize what he has seen. He knows that the white moderates have strong family values, so he reaches out to them by providing stories about children. There is one story about a little girl who has just seen an ad on television and when she asks her father if she can go, he has to look his daughter in the eye and tell her that “Funtown is closed to colored children”(King 561). He then goes on to explain about how that forces that young child to grow up to feel inferior and to begin to hate because she has darker skin than the other children do. Then there is another story about the family taking a cross-country vacation and having to “…sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile…” because motels would not accept colored people (King 561). It really makes the audience sit back and think,“Wow, what if that were me.”
Dr. King refers to his audience speaking to them directly and letting them know that he is very disappointed in the way that things a...
King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Writing Arguments. Fifth ed.
Ed. John Ramage, et al. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001. 558-69.