Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent civil rights leader, delivered a powerful speech at the historic March on Washington. The speech uses several literary techniques to engage the listener. In the speech, King especially likes to use repetition and metaphor to convey his ideas. These devices are the foundation of King's unique and effective style.
In I Have a Dream King uses repetition throughout. Repetition is a good tool to use to reinforce an important idea. In Dorothy Seyler's Read, Reason, Write, she states: ?Some repetition of key words and phrases will occur in well-written and unified essays. Some writers, though, go beyond this technique of unified writing and use repetition to produce an effective cadence, like a drum beating in the background, keeping time with the speaker?s fist pounding the lectern for emphasis.? (58). King?s speech is a perfect representation of this.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by th...
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...ly because it tends to conjure up thoughts of sinking or being sucked into the ground. The ground is indicative of strength and stability. Solid rock, which is in turn used with brotherhood, happens to be what the Earth?s crust is made of. So this ?solid rock? is the opposite and stands for steadiness and support. Justice is security, something every human needs for survival.
King used so many literary techniques effectively, that analyzing them is almost impossible. This speech illustrates his true genius. The language within the speech is so complex, but it is all interconnected. The metaphors and repetition are very powerful, and really engage the audience. All of these different devices are what represent King?s unique style.
Seyler, Dorothy U. Read, Reason, Write. Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill College, 1999.
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