Same Time Invokes Compassion To King's Cause essay example

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Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" contains many examples of his ability to effectively use pathos, or to appeal to the emotions of his audiences. In response to the clergyman's claim that his use of direct action was "untimely", King states, "We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights". As you can see, this statement is in direct relation to the clergyman's "untimely" notion, but it is apparent that there is an underlying audience. The "we" in this statement refers to his "black brothers and sisters" taking an active role in the civil rights movement. This statement, in terms of pathos, is to inspire under his black brothers and sisters and have them realize that 340 years has been a long enough time to wait. King continues using pathos while writing this letter.

He keeps inspirational words as he goes on to say, "The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at a horse-and-buggy pace". A closer examination shows that there is a hidden question he is posing to the black community, such as "Why? Why are we still moving so slowly toward independence?" King is pushing the people of the black community to act, to be involved in what will be their history with his words of inspiration and at the same time making it clear to them that the time to act is now. In the "Letter from Birmingham Jail", King tries to place the white voters into the shoes of the black people by giving vivid descriptions of the trials they have been going through and invoke empathy in their hearts.

He says: "When you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brothers and sisters at whim... ". This statement brings up an issue every culture has had to deal with, death. Death in the American culture is one that is associated with loss and grief. King skillfully imposes this loss on the shoulders of his white audience making it clear to them the pain the black people have been dealt. King then sums up this passage by turning his voice back to the clergymen he had been addressing and states, "Then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair". This response answers the clergymen's question of untimeliness and at the same time invokes compassion to King's cause. This response says, "Now that I have shown you the trials that we have faced, now that I have inspired the black people to cry out for their freedom, and now that I have made the white moderate sympathetic to our cause, I dare you to say our actions are 'untimely. ' " The clergymen can't help but be compassionate to his cause because they now see the inevitability of it.