Essay About Martin Luther King Jr.
In his speech, Martin Luther King is trying to persuade the audience that the equality toward African American people was reaching an all-time high especially in the state of Alabama as was highlighted in the extract of the speech “I have a dream.” Although the above statement was not his main idea for his speech, it did play an integral part. Martin Luther King tried to persuade his listeners to not dwell on the injustice of the past but rather to fight for an equal and better future for all races.
Martin Luther King was a masterful communicator in the way he presented himself. He taught himself how to powerfully enrapture the audience and retain their attention through metaphors, repetitions, emphasising of words and the positivity of his messages that did not focus on violence.
The purpose of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech was to place racism in the spotlight of America’s normality exposing the injustice of racism and to persuade the whole of America to stop discrimination of all races.
The biggest misconception that people still have to this day, in terms of his target audience, is that his followers did not only consist of the African American race but include both white and black citizens who believed that all races should have equal rights and opportunities. His placed part of his main focus on people who were in positions of power, that have the opportunity to make a difference in terms of slavery law and who could create positions based on skills, not on the colour of people’s skin.
“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’
In this part of the Speech, Martin Luther King’s anger and intense sense of injustice comes to the forefront. He focuses on not only on white people, but people in positions of power (governor of Alabama) who are turning a blind eye to the wrongdoings of their people.
He uses the metaphor “lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” which is very unappealing language, he is actually insulting the governor’s words and then he responds with what he wishes for the country, showing his intense need for equality.
“– one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers”
“I have a dream today”
Is continuously repeated, placing emphasis through the use Anaphora which is defined as the repeating of a phrase or word at the beginning of an sequential piece (Reinhart 2016). “I have a dream” shows that Martin Luther King is willing to work towards a better future and to fight for what he believes in. He does not dwell on the past but focuses on the future, believing in a better world for all.
“I have a dream…”
This is the third time that he repeats the phrase “I have a dream” this repetition also means that he is trying to drive a point home.
“…that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low…”
In this section he speaks of a valley that shall be exalted, hills and mountains shall be low, yet another way of saying that one day those that are at the bottom will rise and those who think highly of themselves will fall, so that all can be equal ones more.
“…the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight…”
In this part he again speaks of change, for those underprivileged, because of the racism currently taking place in 1963. He dreams that one day those having “rough” lives will see change and those being on a “crooked” road will have the privilege to move on a straight road again. In other words, he makes known that he sees all the injustice that is being done, the blind eye that is being turned and hopes that it will no longer continue down this path.
‘…and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’
In this part of the speech the reverent that he is comes forth. He quotes scripture from Isaiah 40 verse 4-5. It shows how he believes that if we do what God wants us to do, by abolishing racism, He who is the Lord will show His Glory in full and everyone will see it and experience it.
“This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.”
Here Martin is declaring that the hope he has, should be shared. He doesn’t want to be the only one hoping for a better future with change.
“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
In this piece Martin refers to the word “faith” again, he explains to the audience that with the faith that they share in above sentence that sounds like a type of “tool”, they will “hew out the mountain of despair”. Now “hew” means cutting off or chopping off (Marttila, 2009), this refers to working hard to cut out the “mountain of despair” meaning the unrest and discontent of the people, “a stone of hope” refers to something everlasting (stone), like hope should be. In the whole section he uses symbolism.
“With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
Again he uses the word “faith”, which in this case we know is a type of “tool”, to convert the “jangling discords” which is a form of onomatopoeia that describes the disturbing lack of disharmony between what is humane and what is not, if rectified all races should be transformed “into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
“With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
This section is a form of parallelism using both positive and negative aspects to show the brighter future ahead. He engages the audience through a form of rhythm.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, ‘My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.’
This whole part of the speech is a rhetorical technique; it refers to a popular American patriotic song. Instead of patriotism, he uses it as a promise for a better future. Through his skills as an art writer and his background as a reverend, he utilized his experiences and knowledge to fight against racism. He uses linguistic techniques as a form of a weapon in the battle against injustice.
He used things that were dear to the audience that was already residing deep inside of people. He had a dream, an idea, something he wanted to convey. He took risks to show what was important to him. The audience was enraptured with Martin Luther King’s speech by him using various techniques to ensure the mind and rally the appropriate emotions.