I Have a Dream

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Zarit Escalante Professor Duran English 1 A March 15, 2013 The Art of Persuasion Martin Luther King, Jr. “ I Have a Dream” Speech In in his landmark speech in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King begins by alluding to Abraham Lincoln whose imposing memorial stands behind him. He refers to the Emancipation Proclamation, the document Lincoln used to set free the enslaved Negros of his time. King’s speech is a call for Negros who have been free for “five score years” to be treated equally to their fellow white Americans. King uses metaphor, parallel structure and allusion to convince his audience that it is time for Lincoln’s intentions to become reality. King begins by using a metaphor comparing the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to a check given to given to all Americans promising to pay them with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those Americans were supposed to include black men and women. But King declares that the United States has not paid its due on that check. He states that it has come back with “insufficient funds.” King refers to a bad check to make his point clear because he knows his audience is probably familiar with the situation of receiving a rubber check. He goes on to mention the “bank of justice” which should supply equality to all Americans, but is bankrupt when dealing with African Americans. Later he compares the mood of black people to the weather. He states that blacks are, “Sweltering in a summer of discontent. They will not be satis-

fied until an autumn of freedom of equality arrives.” He uses the weather metaphor to show that Blacks could become violent. Knowing that a black man could not directly threaten the establishment of white society, King uses the metaphor to explain the growing hostility of his people. Through parallel structure, he goes on to declare that blacks cannot wait for equality. He speaks against the “tranquilizing drug or gradualism.” He then starts the next four sentences with “Now...
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