King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” And Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”

1293 words - 5 pages

Martin Luther King’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is a very sophisticated argument that gets to the point, but in the same time it gets very deep and complex. The letter is a historical and emotional letter that spoke to the hearts of people all across America. It was also well thought out and wrote with great deep meaning. By using three categories of persuasion, ethos, pathos, and logos, King was able to get on a much needed personal level with his audience. Along with letting the reader know that he had valid ideas and reasons. Getting on a personal level would let King explain his view of what was Right and unjust. I believe that King’s letter was the greater argument than Swift’s, because he knew what his argumentative goal was, to get his audience on his side to show them what needed to be changed. From reading "A Modest Proposal" I felt that you had to dig out the goal that Swift was trying to prove. I also felt that Swifts audience did not find the sarcasm he was trying to get across.
In any argument that you come across, you are going to show the audience (if it’s one person or a larger group of people) that you are right and try to change their mind or make then look at the subject of topic differently. If King did not have the reader on his side it would have been extremely difficult to get the outcome he was looking for. The way that king was able to get the clergymen to listen to him was making himself their equals by saying, “I have honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every Southern state with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia." (701). This was one of the strategies King was able to use. This allowed his audience and fellow clergymen to listen to his words and believes toward segregation. Telling this to the clergymen brought up all the segregation that was happening all across American, not just in Birmingham. Though Martin Luther King had talked about the problems he was facing he still had many other point to prove before he was satisfied with his argument.
King goes on in the letter and gets on a personal level with the clergymen. He opens the doors of emotions with his reader’s. With referring to words of religious icons, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." (740). Martin Luther King was able show the clergymen that segregation was happening and unjust acts toward African Americans were still occurring in the United States. King also knew that he was going to need to get the White majority to listen. King used personal experiences from his children,
"when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go the public amusement park that has just been adverted on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing cloud of...

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