In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. writes about how segregated the U.S. is and how it affects the people that are “inferior” to the white folks. He goes through the ways he is upset about police brutality, the way it is justified to break the law when it is unjust, and the disappointment of the church communities. Ta-Nahisi Coates uses pathos in his Excerpt from Between the World and Me to express his emotional words to move the audience.
In the except from The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin he shows ethos to write his letter to his nephew. King presents 3 reasons for believing it is sometimes justified to break the law: taking anyone’s First Amendment right, not having the right to vote, and anti-religious laws. I will show that the first premise is true and relevant true and relevant. but the second premise is true but sometime irrelevant. I will then argue that though King uses pathos and ethos well, Coates uses pathos more effectively and King uses ethos better overall.
In Letter from Birmingham Jail, King presents 3 reasons why it is sometimes justified to break the law: taking away anyone’s First Amendment right, not having the right to vote, and anti-religious laws. King’s first main premise is First Amendment rights are given to all U.S. citizens and that is “[. . .] the privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest [. . .]” (King 3), which they aren’t receiving. He explains how he was arrested for protesting without a permit and although it can be justified that everyone needs to have a permit to protest it becomes unjust and violates the first amendment right.
King’s second premise is the right to vote. King states that “throughout the state of Alabama” the minority that are the blacks suffer, because the state comes up with different ways to “prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters” (King 3). If it is made nearly impossible to be able to vote because of unfair disadvantages then how will their voices be heard? The blacks make up a majority of the population in these states and aren’t given the right to vote for problems and laws that are affecting them on the day to day basis. King’s third premise is the anti- religious laws. King explains the tragedy that happened in Germany when Hitler was in power, and says, “everything Hitler did in Germany” to the Jews “was legal”, that means as long as it is legal it is ok to do. King doesn’t agree with that because that isn’t morally correct and there are many disadvantages the minorities don’t have to make these laws.
Kings first premise is a basic human right. The right every American gets when they are either born or become citizens of this country. The example that King uses to is how he was arrested for a peaceful protest because he didn’t have a permit, and even though in some cases this is true and it can be justified this wasn’t an act of simple law enforcement. This was a way to “preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment [. . .]” (King 3). This is true to Kings argument and it justifies breaking the law in this case.
In other words, this action by the law enforcement was to stop the movement and behavior King was for, he wanted his voice to be heard without violence. Not everyone agreed with King’s opinion. For example, in “The Ballot or the Bullet” by Malcom X he declares, “it’ll be liberty or it’ll be death” (X 6) meaning he’ll go to any measure to get his liberty even if it means dying. In other words, violence isn’t a problem to Malcom X will be as violent as he needs to be to use his human rights. I don’t agree with Malcom X from what I grew up learning is fighting fire with fire only creates something that cannot be controlled, and only burns anything in its path.
When King’s house was bombed and completely violated he didn’t respond with a bigger bomb nor did he demand for the people that committed the crime to be killed instead he was calm and to all the people that were cheering outside his home he didn’t show defeat. King states in “Blast Rocks Residence of Bus Boycott Leader,” by Joe Azbell, “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” (King) in other words, those who fight will be fought, those who are violent will only receive violence.
Kings second premise is the right to vote. This right is “given” to all American citizens but some are encountered with the ugly reality of unjust segregation. King states, “[. . .] there are some counties without a single Negro registered to vote [. . .]” (King 3), although they are considered the minority they “constitute a majority of the population” and aren’t given a voice. The former slaves weren’t given the proper education and were expected to pass difficult literacy tests in order to vote.
Not only were they at a disadvantage they were discriminated against because only the people of color were required to take them. In the book What a Colored Man Should do to Vote it has a list and all the requirements each state requires for the colored man to vote. Under the name of Alabama, it has an endless list of things you must do or own in order to vote one said “must own forty acres of land”, it’s not bad enough that many had to work continuously day in and day out no salary, no control over anything in their lives and expected to have a large amount of land in order to vote.
These restrictions were almost impossible to overcome and have the money of education to complete. This is true and I completely agree that people of color weren’t given an equal opportunity to vote and those laws were unjust. This is where it is justified to break the law. An example, in order to vote you must have a million dollars in your bank account. I’m positive many people have a million dollars in their bank account but majority probably don’t, that is discrimination toward those who can’t afford to vote and only the wealthy are able to vote on laws that benefit them.
King’s third premise is anti-religious laws, the law that doesn’t allow you to practice what you choose to believe in. King uses the example of Adolf Hitler, how everything he did “[. . .] in Germany was “legal” [. . .]” (King 3) and everyone who did anything to stop or go against him was illegal. King states that he would have been there to help and comfort the Jews to save them from the cruelty even if it meant that he would be breaking the law. He states he would, “advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws” (King 3), this is a way that breaking the law is justified.
I completely agree and it is true that when the law is targeting a certain group of people simply because of their religion or beliefs then the law should be broken. When the law wants this group of people to suffer to their deaths and people cannot help them because it would be considered illegal then it is unjust and therefore shouldn’t be a law to live by. For example, immigrants, they are allowed to visit the U.S. but aren’t allowed to stay, over the years the U.S. is now home to just around 43.7 million immigrants according to, “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States” by Jie Zong, Jeanne Batalova, and Jeffrey Hallock.
Immigrants come from all over the world and many to find a better life in America but what many don’t realize is the conditions that they are placed in if found undocumented. The detention camp in Texas is overflowing with immigrants and the circumstances they’re put in is inhuman, and to protect or shelter someone undocumented is considered illegal. I to believe that it is justified to break the law so people aren’t placed in these camps in the awful conditions.
Comparing and contrasting how Coates uses pathos to vivid and also sentimental and how King uses pathos to direct and past experiences I believe Coates uses pathos more effectively. The way Ta-Nahisi Coates uses pathos in his Excerpt from Between the World and Me is with a lot of imagery and metaphors. Coates word choice is very visual he uses phrases like, “destroy your body” and “dangerously afraid” to show emotion. He then states how all of the superiority of whites over blacks and racism and all of this, “[. . .] dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth.” (Coates 2), these are all very visual and graphic words that paint a painful image of how it feels to be a minority.
All throughout the excerpt he uses imagery the give the reader a better understanding. Another example of this is, “[. . .] the history books in that spoke of black people only as sentimental “firsts” [. . .]” (Coates 7), Coates is using the word sentimental, a word that literally means emotion to bring emotion to the reader. Throughout history its always been white, all of the presidents and anyone who was someone was white, when the books finally started mentioning the first black anyone they protested against it because “white “mattered””. Coates also uses metaphors to get his point across, “[. . .] death could so easily. rise up from the nothing of a boyish afternoon, billow up like fog.” (Coates 4), comparing that death occurred frequently and out of the blue just as fog appears randomly.
Death was so sudden for someone of color because they were looked at with hate and any excuse could be the reason why they were killed. Another example of the metaphors Coates used is when he is talking about the young boys who have been killed without a probable cause, “[. . .] you hear these names think of all the wealth poured into them.” (Coates 9), it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were fed money, it means that someone invested in them. All the boys that had families and friends who cared about them, who spent their time to know and raise these people gone.
Kings’ use of pathos is similar to Coates use with emotionally filled words. King uses words such as, “nobodyness”, ”disturbers of peace” and “outside agitators” to describe how the whites would refer to them. It strikes a sad emotion that anyone would refer to someone in those words. King also uses metaphors to create a better understanding to a point he’s getting across. For example, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a might stream” (King 4), indicating that justice should be given to everyone not just the white, it should be given like water in a stream, it shouldn’t be held back. This helps the reader understand with a vivid picture that justice is a right and it shouldn’t be taken from someone because of their skin color.
King uses visual imagery as well when talking about police brutality, he states “[. . .] hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters [. . .]” (King 2) he uses brother and sister to make you think of your own family. The emotion that you feel when you think about how hard that must be to see that there is no respect with the authority, they aren’t there to help you, instead they brutally kill them. Personally, I believe that Coates expresses his Pathos very well because he uses a lot of metaphors and compares things that you wouldn’t really think of and it triggers larger emotions.
While King uses to ethos his past experiences and show his calm but passionate tone, Baldwin uses ethos to talk to his nephew about what he assumes is the right thing to do from what he has experienced in a caring tone; overall, I believe King uses ethos more effectively. King’s tone in his letter seems to be angry but in a calm manner, he seems passionate but doesn’t come off to strong. King talks about those who haven’t been affected by the “disease of segregation” (King 2), those words come off as someone who has hate toward segregation but instead covers it and makes it seem that it is a sickness rather than a choice.
King then states that he isn’t afraid of the word “tension” like many are. He explains that, “I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension.” (King 2), he has worked and has experience toward tension and found that there shouldn’t be anything to be worried about but it did take time to realize. As the reader, this confirms that he is experienced and gives him credibility about what he is talking about. When there is validation and it is known that it has been a process then your trust grows for the writer. King writes this letter very professionally, his words are to reach all kinds of audiences, he uses many tactics to not only get a group of people’s attention but much more beyond that.
In the excerpt from The Fire Next Time James Baldwins’ tone is very caring and protective. He is writing this letter to his nephew so there is a lot of memories he shares with his father and him as a baby. He quickly says, “I love you, ease don’t you ever forget it.” (Baldwin 1), to show that they must have a close bond and to show how much he cares about his nephew. Baldwin also uses the word “innocent” all throughout is letter when referring to ignorant people who are guilty of doing many hate driven things but dot know any better because they grew up knowing nothing else.
Baldwin has a way of making bad things seem a little better then they truly are, I believe he approaches it this way because his nephew is only 15 and still carries a lot of innocence. The credibility that Baldwin gives himself while talking is when he says, “trust your experience” (Baldwin 3), he doesn’t want his nephew to believe that his experience will be the same, everyone has to learn on their own and will see things in a different perspective.
Baldwin then says “[. . .] you must accept them.” (Baldwin 3), this is his advice from what Baldwin has been through he now knows that no matter what you have to accept even if they don’t accept you. You can’t fight fire with fire and assume you’ll win, no one wins in that situation. I believe King uses Ethos more effectively because he is passionate and he know how to get his point across without losing his tone, he comes across more professional and is able to reach many audiences. While Baldwin come off too emotional and the audience becomes slim with the personalized family memories.
Martin Luther King Jr. has a very professional way of writing he has strong views and great premises although I do believe he could make them stronger with a bit more explanation and perhaps more personal experiences. I believed that his Pathos didn’t have much emotion, in order to create large reaction, you need to tug on anger and sadness.
My Dream To Become A Teacher
Hello, my name is Rachael Eklund. I am from Derby, Kansas which is about and hour and a half from Emporia. I only have one other sibling, who is 18 years old and his name is Ryan. My brother and I are very close in age we are a year and 3 weeks apart, so we are very close. I also have my dad and all together I have seven cousins and I just found out last week that I’m getting a second cousin in June 2019. I’ve always been close with all my family, but when I’m with my dad and brother we are always doing something outdoors together. My dad has always been supportive of me wanting to become an elementary teacher. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, we always do something outdoors or watch the Kansas City Royals on television every night. One of my favorite hobbies is playing softball with my dad.
My dad played baseball ever since he was in elementary school and played it up until high school, and I did the same. We always try to compete against each other to see who is better. When I was a senior in high school, I was stuck on what I wanted to do after high school, and so my mom suggested that I go up to the elementary school where she worked. I instantly fell in love with the kids and I knew at that moment working with kids was for me. Once I decided on my major, my dad suggested Emporia State because one he went here, and he loved it here, and two they have a good teaching program here. When I went on a campus visit this year, I instantly fell in love. The atmosphere here is so easy-going, and the people are so kind and want you to succeed that’s what I love about it.
I haven’t had much opportunities working with children, but the opportunities I’ve had I loved it. When I was around 13 I started babysitting and loved being able to interact with the kids and make them happy when I was there. This gave me a good starting point to interact with kids. I volunteered at a local church for a few years, where the kids would go to other churches and sing songs. This gave me another exposure and I got to help the kids out with the songs that they struggled with. While in high school my senior year, I got to volunteer to go up to an elementary school and interact with the kids. By this point I knew I wanted to major in Elementary Education because I could help with the kids, and once I helped them succeed it would mean the world to me. I also worked at a daycare back at my hometown and got to interact with little kids.
While working at a daycare, I got exposed to different ethnicities and families. This gave me an interest to learn about the different holidays the kid celebrates and the different traditions they do as a family. I felt I had a deeper connection with these kids because I got exposed to different cultures, which was a great experience. While in high school, I took one year of Spanish, so I know some Spanish words which will help me in the work force. I also took American Sign Language my junior and senior year of high school. I absolutely loved sign language because I got to interact with the students that were hard of hearing or deaf. This was such a spectacular experience, because you can make words with your hands. With me taking these foreign languages, I know this will help me in the work force because although I’m not real fluent, I could use basic word knowledge to interact with my students.
After graduation, I would like to teach students somewhere between 2nd-4th grade. I love the older kids because you can interact and have a conversation with them. My favorite subject in school was reading and I hope I get to teach that subject in my classroom one day. I want my students to have a better understanding of what the authors meant writing that story. I enjoy the bigger communities because that’s where I have grown up and you can still develop close relationships. I want to teach in a bigger community once I graduate. As of now, I want to achieve a master’s degree about a year after I start teaching.
About Challenges And Obstacles Throughout My Lifetime
Throughout my life, I have encountered numerous challenges and obstacles that have required me to stay positive and motivated in order to overcome them. One particularly challenging period occurred during my high school years, specifically my Junior year. This year was crucial for improving grades and GPA before entering senior year and preparing for college. Despite taking honors classes throughout high school, I underestimated the difficulty of this specific year. Initially, my goal was just to pass rather than excel. However, I soon realized that this approach could have negative consequences for my senior year and jeopardize my chances of getting into college.
To conquer this hurdle, sacrifices had to be made in terms of leisure time with friends so that I could prioritize studying and focus on improving areas where I struggled. Through this process, I acquired various skills and techniques essential for maintaining motivation and conquering challenges. By breaking tasks into smaller parts and relying on self-motivation, a better perspective was gained which ultimately helped me overcome the obstacle at hand.
Implementing my plan resulted in immediate improvements in both my classes and grades, providing an incredible sense of accomplishment.By the end of junior year, I ranked within the top 13 percent of my class, fully prepared for college as I entered senior year.I was able to pass honors and college courses, receive acceptance letters from colleges, and achieve my goal. This taught me that with motivation and effort, any difficult situation can be overcome. In life, we all face challenging problems but finding sources of motivation can make facing these obstacles easier. High school was especially demanding as I took on honors and college classes with their own challenges. However, I developed the skills needed to overcome these obstacles throughout it all.