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Martin Luther King Jr.
Transcript of Martin Luther King Jr.
(e.g. "...to work together, to pray together, to go to jail, to stand for freedom together", "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums."
King uses parallelism in order to separate his ideas and create a clear, powerful phrase that captures the audience's attention.
The audience is able to distinguish the significance of the words in the sentence; therefore, the audience can process the information and remember it.
The rhetorical device emphasizes on King's points so that they do not get lost in the speech.
Orwell's Language Tricks
Metaphors & Analogies
"I Have A Dream"
August 28, 1963
Mentioned how Lincoln, one of the greatest president fight for colored people.
Inspire people fight for their freedom as same as Lincoln
Respectful historical figures fought for colored people's rights in past years, and encouraged them to fight for themselves.
Five score years ago
, a great American, in those symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the
a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863
the freedom of slaves in the ten states that were still in rebellion
"...seared in the flames of
The Emancipation Proclamation has given black people a sense of hope. African-Americans have been serving their country under unrighteous law, but that is about to change.
"...to transform the
discords of our nation into a
symphony of brotherhood."
MLK proposes that if the nation is separated, it's a 'jangling discords'. However, if the nation is united together, the country will be a 'beautiful symphony'.
day of justice emerges."
The day of justice is 'bright'. Bright is a positive word that describes the justice day. It shows King's opinion of the justice day.
Conclusion of Speech
borrow from Archibald Carey
Free at last
brings tears to eyes and forever stays the memory of the speech in the minds of those who hear it
effective and emotion-filled conclusion
sums up King's argument forcefully and memorably
let people to remember what he said
grabbed audiences' minds and touched audiences' souls
To inspire black people to fight for their freedom and show the white government what is currently wrong with the law.
The meaning behind the speech was to demand racial equality and make people aware that no matter what the color skin a person has, they were no less of a person.
King uses operators or verbal false limbs, meaningless words, and dying metaphors in his speech.
Operators or Verbal False Limbs:
(e.g. "...a check that will give us upon the demand
the riches of freedom
the security of freedom
King gives this sentence symmetry by expressing two ideas that have equal weight. The phrases alone have symmetry since King used extra syllables to create flow and tone.
There are no verbs or nouns in this sentence, but MLK has effectively made his ideas stand out to the audience.
These words are examples of words that do not have any particular definition. Their meaning is vague, yet King uses them efficiently.
King explains the meaning of these words in his speech so that all white and black American citizens can agree upon one national definition of freedom, justice, etc.
(e.g. "I have a dream that one day
this nation will rise up and live out
the true meaning of its creed; 'We
hold these truths
to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'")
This is an example of figurative speech - to describe something by comparing it with something else.
In this quote, a nation cannot rise up and live out as MLK explains. A nation is an inanimate object. The phrase is meant to state that the people of America would embrace change and strive for a higher ideal.
In paragraph 4 & 5, King uses an analogy to showcase America's broken promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to African-American citizens. (e.g. "...
we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check
MLK explains that the lack of civil rights and freedom of black people are similar to a "bad check". He suggests that the thousands of marchers have come to Washington to cash a check, but the government has given them a check with insufficient funds or promissory note that no one has paid.
This reference means that many black people feel like they are not being given the same rights they were promised after the Civil War ended.
Instead, African-American people are being discriminated against.
This analogy contributes to MLK's thesis of freedom because it outlines the neglect black people were facing in the U.S.
King uses many metaphors in his speech to create imagery for the audience. (e.g. "One hundred years later...the Negro lives on a
lonely island of poverty
in the midst of a
vast ocean of material prosperity
The metaphor helps the audience make connections to his points by visualizing an island (which is small) in the middle of an ocean (which is large).
The island represents the poverty-stricken African-Americans while the ocean represents the rich, upper class Caucasian-Americans.
This metaphor supports Kings thesis by illustrating the feelings of black people who are segregated and discriminated against in their own country.
Thesis & Purpose
Type of Speech
Martin Luther King Jr.
"I Have a Dream" is an inspiring, persuasive speech.
He uses rhetorical devices and reasoned arguments with emotion in order to persuade the people into creating an inclusive society and change for black people.
King wants equal rights for both black and white people.
He expresses his thoughts in this quote:
That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: "We hold these true to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
The first technique used is
He uses certain phrases such as,
One hundred years later
I have a dream
Let freedom ring
in his speech to make important ideas stand out. This makes the listeners (or readers) pay more attention and think about his ideas more.
The second technique that is used is
He would speak loudly at times, and then his voice would fall back down to a serious tone. With his voice rising and falling, it kept the audiences' attention.
The third technique used is
. He gives a sense of hope that someday his dream will come true. It gives the people who have been treated wrongly the same dream. He also shows his desire to change and his faith that it truly will happen.
The fourth technique used is
(references to real events). Martin Luther King his second paragraph with "
Five score years ago...
This refers to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This was when freedom was expected. But he refers to it merely to say that
"One hundred years later...the Negro is still not free."
King's thesis introduces each major point of his speech.
As he restates the history of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, as he recounts the sufferings of African-Americans during demonstrations and efforts for equal rights.
He emphasizes that he honored the past, but was spending the present dreaming of better days to come.
His thesis was, simply, that he was dreaming of a world in which racial relations would be marked with equality for all, in every sense and in every place.