I Have a Dream Rhetorical Analysis

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Allegra Hudson
Professor McCullough
English 1301
September 22, 2010

What makes a man free? According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a free man is guaranteed the “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unfortunately, the Declaration of Independence did not live up to its promise that all men were created equal. Dr. King fought for the equality of all men until his assassination in 1968. One of his most influential moments occurred on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial where he gave his world renowned “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King wanted to convey a message of justice and equality. This speech left its mark in history because of the rhetorical devices he used, such as: anaphora, metaphorical phrases, and his hopeful tone. In the minds of present-day Americans, there is no doubt that Dr. King’s speech led to the changes that allow us all to be equal. In the second paragraph, King sends us back in time to President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He illustrates this scene by speaking at President Lincoln’s memorial. His first use of anaphora begins in the third paragraph. The continual use of “One hundred years later...” shows how America still does not see the wrong they are doing in a time span of one hundred years. It is “One hundred years later…” that America has not learned much of anything. Sure the slaves were freed, breaking the shackles on their physical bondage, but the Negro still was bound socially and mentally; that bondage being segregation. Dr. King uses the phrase “One hundred years later…” to scorn America and to serve as a verbal shame on you. The next use of anaphora can be seen in the seventh paragraph of the speech. The words “Now is the time…” shows the urgency of the problem. These words help the people of America understand that a change must come today! Dr. King is saying why wait tomorrow or even next week when “the time is Now” to “let freedom ring”. Another use of...
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