Maritn Luther King was a civil rights activist and clergyman who was very passionate about his work. He knew how to use rhetorical devices in such a way as to stir the reader. For this purpose he used a lot of logos, ethos, and pathos in his work. One of the most effective tool Dr. King uses in his writing are logos, ethos, and pathos.
Logos appeal to a persons logic and evokes a rational response in the reader. In Letters to Birmingham Dr. King justifies why he is doing what he is doing, especially in Birmingham because he gets a lot of criticism for it. He proves and justifies that protests, the breaking of laws and the opposition of segregation by the blacks are all naturally what any human being would do in such a situation. He also proves that the way the white people treat the blacks and the way they make segregation laws and oppress the black people is evil and cruel. He does this in such an eloquent way that the reader naturally agrees with him. In I have a dream he does something similar in that he first proves that the protest is there for a reason. Then he states what things really are like right now and how things could be in the future. So he is basically arousing the listener to get involved
Ethos are ethical arguments that prove the writer credibility. In Letters to Birmingham Dr. King compares himself to a prophet setting people free from oppression. This was effective because religion is something everyone is sensitive to. It is interesting because he also has respect for the oppositions arguments stating them as good valid arguments but then at the same time he tell them why their argument is a bunch of baloney. Also he makes it know to the reader that he is a clergyman, a holy man, and that he is a caring human being so as to show his trustworthiness. In I Have a Dream
Pathos are the appeal to the emotions and they evoke an emotional response of the reader.
In letters to Birmingham he gives great detail of how the black people suffer. Especially with the example of the old woman who is still fighting for freedom and the little girl who want to go to the carnival but cant because its not for colored children. He kind of makes the reader feel pity towards the blacks as a way of getting them to do something about it. This is effective because the two types of weak people are young children and elderly people. He also tells how the people have are stuck obeying the white people and how families who were being torn apart didn’t have any rights to stick up for themselves.
In I Have a Dream he tells the audience how black people have suffered for hundreds of years with no change and gives details of how they still suffer.