Analyse the Text of the Speech, Paying Particular Attention to the Following Features of Its Semantics and Lexical Structure: Use of Metaphor, Semantic Field, Text Type, Register, Intertextuality.

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, African American, Negro Pages: 6 (2361 words) Published: November 13, 2010
In no more than 2, 250 words, analyse the text of the speech, paying particular attention to the following features of its semantics and lexical structure: use of metaphor, semantic field, text type, register, intertextuality.

Martin Luther King was one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement, who fought against discrimination, and made a powerful appeal for justice and equality. Looking back to the history, in 1963 the America was divided into black and white population due to racism across countries. Namely, not only institutions such as schools and churches were separated but also public places like restaurants, libraries, cafes and even toilets. Besides, all the Black people, who were also called ‘Negroes’ were even forced to use separate drinking fountains. Martin Luther King delivered his speech known under the title “I have a dream”, moving public’s consciousness and people’s hurts. This particular speech, which took place on the 28th August in 1963 in Washington D.C, made King one of the greatest orators in American history. Through his speech he wanted to pass an important message to all people, highlighting that people should be treated equally and if not at that time, he believed this should have been done for the sake of the future generations. As one of the U.S. Congressman, who also gave a speech that memorable day, John Leens stated: “Dr. King had the power, the ability and capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a modern day pulpit. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, and he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations.” Therefore, questions worth considerations are: What made Martin Luther King’s speech so special that it was ranked as the top American Speech of the 20th century? What features of the text, he delivered, touched people’s emotions, hurts and why did he use them? (

King’s speech was supposed to be a political speech, although it refers in many ways to the Bible, therefore it could be seen as Christian sermon. As he grew up in a black Baptist church, not surprisingly he put emphasis on religion as well as spiritualism. Such knowledge of religious words made his speech even more valuable and imaginary. His speech was made up of two parts, so the style he chose was not very complicated. Namely, each part refers to contrasting emotions, the first it is associated with the pain, whereas the second strongly expresses a strong belief in a dream of the better life in the future. Analysing the first part it is important to mention that Martin Luther King used special poetic language in order to describe the nightmare, which took place in America at that time. The evidence of it can be noticed in the following lines: “crippled by the manacle of segregation and the chains of discrimination (…) Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice (…) America has given the Negro people a bad check (…).” As above mentioned the second part of speech is found around author’s dream about better, more humane future: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed (…) I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi (…) will be transformed into oasis of freedom and justice (…) I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation (…) I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted(…).” Before he turned to the dream about the future, at the very early beginning of his speech, King had welcomed the crowd in a very optimistic way: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” This part of speech is full of pronouns such as ‘I’, ‘you’, and ‘we’, which are used in order to build relationship between the author and the audience. Using such register, King made the audience to unit with...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • semantic Essay
  • Semantics Essay
  • semantics Essay
  • text types Essay
  • Lexical Semantics: Hyponyny Networks Essay
  • The Use of Metaphors and Epithets in Business Texts Essay
  • Essay on Text
  • Essay on Text

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free