Language

The language used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech “I Have a Dream” reflects a combination of a political speech and a religious sermon. The speech is made memorable through its widespread use of metaphorical imagery along with emphatic repetitions. The language can be described as formal but accessible to a broad audie…

...

Choice of words

The choice of words mirrors the topics of the speech with references to freedom, civil rights, African Americans, and discrimination.

The speaker uses a number of words that create negative images, such as “crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” (ll. 13-14), “the heat of oppression” (l. 122), “vicious racists” (l. 129) “unspeakable horrors of police brutality” (ll. 83-84), and “shameful condition” (l. 19). Such adjectives and nouns are used to describe the situation of African Americans in the 1960s.

In contrast to the current situa…

...

Sentence structure

The sentences used by the speaker are well-structured, suggesting the speaker has researched and prepared his speech in advance. Some of them are short, especially when the speaker wants to convey a firm and memorable message: “We cannot walk alone.” (l. 77); “We cannot turn back.” (l. 80).

Others are longer as the speak…

...

Tone

King’s tone when he delivers his speech reminds the audience of his background as a church minister. His tone is typical of religious sermons made in African-American churches. His words are rhythmic and almost sung: “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will …

...

Symbols, political propaganda, and personal stories

In his speech, King includes symbolism, a personal reference, and political propaganda techniques.

A typical propaganda technique the speaker uses is appealing to group dynamics…

...

Rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are language tools used to make speakers’ arguments both appealing and memorable. In “I Have a Dream”, Martin Luther King Jr. extensively uses repetitions, metaphors, and allusions. Other rhetorical devices that you should note are antithesis, direct address, and enumeration.

Allusion

MLK’s speech includes several historical, religious, and cultural allusions. An allusion is a reference to an event, a person, media, or literature that the speaker finds relevant for the topic and purpose of his speech.

For example, King alludes to Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation which officially ended slavery: “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.” (ll. 5-7). Note that this allusion is further emphasized by the setting of Martin Luther King’s speech, which is made outside the Capitol (the seat of American government). The building contains a large statue of Abraham Lincoln, which can be seen in the video.

Furthermore, the speaker also alludes to the rights guara…

...

Forms of appeal

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.is mostly constructed using ethos and pathos, but a few instances of logos are also included. The speaker uses these forms of appeal to encourage the audience to support the Civil Rights Movement by illustrating why this movement is necessary and what it will achieve.

Logos

King appeals to reason in the speech by mentioning facts and using logical arguments which support his views on racial discrimination.

For example, he lists several real situations in which African Americans are discriminated against:  

…the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. (ll. 83-87)

Additionally, when he creates the extended metaphor of the Civil Rights Movement being like cashing a check (ll. 20-37), King uses a logical line of reasoning. The analogy shows that Afric…

Textul de mai sus este doar un extras. Numai membrii pot citi întregul conținut.

Obține acces la întregul eBook.

Ca membru al Liceunet.ro, beneficiezi de acces la întregul conținut.

Achiziționează un abonament acum

Deja membru? Log in