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Commentary on "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King

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Introduction

?I Have a Dream? is a public speech delivered by Martin Luther King, a prominent figure in American History, in which he calls for racial equality. Throughout his speech, Martin Luther King inspires and motivates his audience to create a social movement for the betterment of the standards of living for black people in America. The transcript deals with the themes of equality and freedom by using a variety of literary techniques. Social exclusion of the ?Negro?, according to Martin Luther King, is holding back America from truly being ?great?. He encourages those who are fighting for equality and freedom from the constraints of society to continue their struggle for the betterment of the entire black society. He seems to say that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, but it must be demanded by the oppressed. The theme of undying hope is also discussed as Martin Luther King encourages his viewers to be persistent in whatever they do. Direct addressal of the reader helps the orator to emotionally connect with the reader to have a greater impact on the audience. The speech begins with direct addressal of the reader to provide emotional connection and thereby enhance the motivational effect of the speech. The possessive pronoun ?my? in the noun phrase ?my friends? unites Martin Luther King with his audience and so has the ability to strengthen the impact of his inspirational speech. The theme of hope is discussed through repetition of adverbs. The adverb ?still? in the simple declarative sentence ?I still have a dream? is used to motivate the audience and tell them ...read more.

Middle

The most basic of human rights is stolen from them. The premodifier ?little? shows innocence and so this example is used to open the eyes of the prejudice to the fact that no one man is of more value than another. The one-word single sentence-paragraph builds up pace and emotional intensity. The anaphora ?I have a dream today? makes up the paragraph which is meant to motivate people to make themselves to be a part of the change. The abstract noun ?today? is used to make the audience believe that there shall not be any further delay in the search for the most basic human right - equality and freedom. This single sentence paragraph is repeated to emphasise Martin Luther King?s main points and reinforce his ideas. Martin Luther King directly criticizes the rich and therefore powerful to convey to the audience that one should not be afraid of being the change they wish to see in the world. He metaphorically declares that the lips of Alabama?s governor ?are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification?. The metaphoric comparison to a filthy and dirty dog in the dynamic verb ?dripping? is used to implicitly insult those who discriminate against the poor and helpless for they can only be related to animals. The vision of unity is portrayed through the description of a perfect, harmonic setting. The idealic transformation is described as ?a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls?and walk together as sisters and brothers?. ...read more.

Conclusion

He connotes the idea that a person however learned and qualified in his life?s work in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant. He wants people to express their gratitude not by uttering words, but to live by it. His last words ?We are brothers after all? symbolizes peace, freedom and contentment with each other and society as a whole - something he repeatedly dreams of. Martin Luther King?s love for the earth and respect for all is evident especially as he concludes his speech as he attempts to convince and motivate his audience to take care of the planet and its inhabitants. The simple declarative ?This earth is precious to us? leaves no room for confusion. The pronoun ?us? fuses and amalgamates his audience into one single, strong force. He believes that we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Instead of competing against one another, we should work with each other to achieve common goals for the betterment of mankind. By giving short, simple sentences packed with powerful adjectives and dynamic verbs, the audience begins to feel the emotion. The technique of isocolon is also present which allows the speech to flow in a more clear and organized matter showing determination. It moves the audience sentimentally. Repetition accentuates points the speaker wants the audience to remember. He repeats declaratives and exclamatories over and over again as an appeal to pathos, or emotions. His pathos during this speech is what creates such excitement and belief in the audience and is what makes him such an influential and charismatic figure. ...read more.

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