Impact In two of his speeches and two contexts’ Martin Luther King’s speeches can be recalled In all parts of the world today, largely through his charismatic, albeit remarkably energetic demeanor. The powerful message that manifests itself In many of his orations – the dream In which Negroes would one day be on equal terms with white people ; appealed to his admiring audiences infallibly speech after speech.
His lectures display his optimistic aspirations for Afro-Americans, as well as encouraging persons of all races and surrounds to share his ardor in building a society wherein racial discrimination and bigotry would be a thing of the past. One of King’s most iconic speeches comes in the form of ‘l have a dream’, a public demonstration made in front of thousands in Washington D.
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C. Here King strongly expresses his feelings regarding racial discrimination, using a variety of techniques in order to communicate these views effectively. In his perpetual references to freedom, King alludes to Abraham Lincoln signing of the Emancipation Programmer; at this point, through the use of advertorial language, King expresses his trepidations about racism.
Although, he says, by theory, the Negro has been liberated by the slang of the Emancipation papers, he is still the victim of discrimination and prejudice. ‘The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation’: here King skillfully describes the situation through figurative language – manacles referring to the times when black people were subject to slavery, suggesting that the Negro is still enchained, no longer by iron cuffs but by the principles of white supremacy.
These ideas are also apparent in the Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam’ sermon, held in the Benzene Baptist Church in April 1967. In this speech King expresses his incongruity regarding the motives of the war, as well as giving carefully Justified reasons for his difference of opinion, using an all manner of techniques from the ‘Rule of 3’ to the comprehensive use of facts and statistics to corroborate his views. As aforementioned, King also Introduces the Issue of racial discrimination.
We have been repeatedly faced with he cruel Irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same school room’: here King reconciles a point with a hint of satire – why should Negroes fight for America along with their white neighbors, who can’t even regard them as equals at home? However, the Vietnam speech does not refer to racism in such an austere manner as in the ‘l have a dream speech’, the latter being rather more derisive and critical than solemn and resolute.
King’s lectures, particularly 1 have a dream’, enclose a rich array of metaphorical language, often found when comparing something to the natural world. This semantic field of Nature is a recurring theme In the ‘I have a dream’ speech, suggesting that fairness, Justice and civil rights should be as Instinctive as Nature herself. Throughout his speech King describes racism as ‘a lonely Island of poverty In the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, ‘the dark and desolate valley of segregation’. Through using Nature to explain the matter of allowing King to appeal to his addressees in the most successful manner.
This decorous speech is not only used to communicate the issues, but to describe the courses of action and aspirations of the black population. Closely tied up with this, allusions to Religion are also commonly found in many of King’s speeches, the Vietnam’ and ‘l have a dream’ speeches not being an exemption. Both lectures are littered with Biblical references, in particular the Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam sermon’, wherein mentions of the Gospel and Jesus’ teachings can be found in almost every section.
Nevertheless, in the ‘l have a dream’ speech King does refer o the place of his Address as a ‘hallowed spot’, suggesting that from this place there will stem an everlasting age of racial Justice and brotherhood. These Biblical references not only substantiate Kings beliefs and visions as being ethically correct – they also appeal to the moral sense of the listener, and encourage, almost pressure him to follow the ‘proper’ example.
Martin Luther Kings strong use of imagery in the ‘I have a dream’ speech is the deciding aspect of the effectiveness of the oration, and is partly responsible for its popularity among the people following the lecture. King used imagery to illustrate his views, aspirations, and, most importantly, his ardent visions of the future, and often extended these by referring to the forces of nature’ in order to create a visionary, almost fanciful account of his ambitions for the times to come. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial Justice; Now is the time to open the door of opportunity to all of God’s children; Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood’. In addition to using Nature as a tool to appeal to his audience, King uses numerous literary devices to achieve this also. Use of repetition can be pointed out in various parts of Kings speeches, an example of this being the emphasis on the word ‘now in the last quotation.
This indicates Kings desire to convey the imperative urgency of acting without delay; in essence, there is no time to be apathetic. Other instances of repetition can be observed in Kings speeches; indeed, anaphora is used to articulate the infamous expression ‘I have a ream’, so much so that it has become the name by which the lecture is recognized in all parts of the world today, as well as being the main theme of the speech itself.
Several more of Kings markedly effective techniques in appealing to the audience can be easily observed – the general way in which he addresses everyone the audience and uses personal pronouns to suggest a collaborative struggle against the oppression of people in America both create a mutual feeling of belonging, in which every member of the audience feels involved in striving towards the dream that King o passionately outlines. Almost every part of King’s speech exhibits some form of imagery, most of this created by using metaphorical language.
King connects his dreams to the dreams of the audience by using ‘second person pronouns’, where King addresses the listeners and puts the idea of freedom into context. The Vietnam’ sermon not only brings the image of egalitarianism into perspective, it also is an antithetical demonstration, protesting against war and moral issues (poverty), persuading and accusing these problems until the views taken in the speech are insistent with life in realism.
Many of the accusations in this sermon are aimed at the government, whom King argues to be the fundamental cause of many moral used by King in order to create a welcoming, but also very powerful and opinionated stance on the issues in question. All manners of devices, from metaphorical language to allusions to the past, are employed by this great speaker to design a demonstration which would not only engage people of all racial backgrounds, but also induce them to act upon the issue of discrimination.