Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr. 's ' I Have A Dream '

1132 WordsSep 29, 20175 Pages
Martin Luther King Jr. was the man who wrote the speech entitled “I have a dream” and presented it to nearly 250,000 people on August 23, 1963. In that speech, MLK Jr. used several different types of figurative language/rhetorical devices in order to convey his message to the people on a deeper level. These devices include personification, allusion, symbolism, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, and anaphora. Personification is a form of figurative language in which something has nonhuman human qualities. One example of this in MLK Jr.’s writing is “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed”. Here, he is giving the U.S. the human qualities of being able to rise up from the ground as well as…show more content…
One example of symbolism he used would be, “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of justice.” In that quote MLK talks about a dark and desolate valley of segregation and the sunlit path of justice. The dark and desolate valley of segregation is referring to the U.S. at that point in time. People were separated based on their skin color and there was no social or legal justice for the people of dark colored skin. It was a horrible time to live in. The sunlit path of justice MLK Jr. also talks about is how the U.S. should be now and in the future. There would be no segregation or injustice based on skin color. There would be peace between the two races. So, using that knowledge, MLK Jr. is saying, with the use of symbolism, that the U.S. needs to change from its unequal and horrid ways to ones that treat everyone equal. MLK Jr. used hyperboles in his writing not all that often, as he could elaborate on what he had to say to his audience at the time with the use of other types of figurative language and literary devices. A hyperbole is an extremely exaggerated statement that is not being used literally. The one big example of of MLK using this type of figurative language would be, “When we allow freedom to ring - when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men,
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