Essay Letter From A Birmingham Jail

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King Jr., is a response to a group of Alabama clergymen, who critique King’s actions in protesting racial segregation and injustice in Birmingham. I Lost My Talk, by Rita Joe, is a poem that uses an extended metaphor to highlight the identity crisis of many Aboriginal people who grew up within the residential school system. Both poems, through the use of the three persuasive appeals, logos, ethos, and pathos, and by addressing their opposition, seek to encourage racial reform.

Logos, King’s most frequent persuasive appeal in the letter, is critical to establishing himself as a voice of reason. Throughout the article, he rationally explains the reasoning behind the need for action in Birmingham. Early in his letter, he begins by highlighting the reasons for why he is in Birmingham. Rampant brutality, unsolved bombings of houses and churches, and prevalent racial injustice (King, 1963, p.2) has led to a dangerous atmosphere of racial contempt in the city. Later on, in defense of breaking laws in his direct action, he explains the difference between just and unjust laws. He logically appeals to his audience as he states that “in no sense [does he] advocate evading or defying the law,” explaining that one who breaks the law due to the belief that it is unjust, and one who accepts the penalty is “expressing the highest respect for the law” (King, 1963, p.5). The logical explanation of his actions, and the reasons for why they are…

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