In what ways does this extract/s show that Martin Luther King was an effective public speaker?
In Martin Luther King’s speech ‘I have a dream’ He uses rhetorical devices, emotive language and a careful choice of pronouns to establish rapport with the audience. Before King became a speaker he was a Baptist minister, which means he was used to speaking in public and was very knowledgeable on the bible. The speech was given exactly one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation and was making the point that these promises were made but had not taken place.
1: In the first paragraph of the extract, King starts with the words “Go back”. This is repeated several times throughout the paragraph and after all, but one, followed by a southern state. The repetition of the two words gives the paragraph a memorable quality; it also stresses that they go back to the racist states in the south. King establishes rapport with the audience in this paragraph first by showing his understanding of the southern states; this causes the audience to have a greater trust in him. Secondly by using emotive language as in “slums and ghettos”, this paints a vivid picture in the audiences mind. Finally by making a promise, the promise that the whole of the audience had come to hear, the promise that “this situation can and will be changed”. All these points combined, King uses to make the audience accept him as their spokesperson. These techniques are expanded and added to throughout the rest of the extract.
2: The second paragraph is very short; this is used to get a single point across effectively. King puts the main clause “Let us not wallow” first to get the single point across before the extra information is added in the subordinate clause “in the valley of despair”. He uses the emotive words to add emphases on to what he is saying: these are “wallow” and “valley of despair”. This is also a biblical metaphor, which he uses to establish rapport with the audience, as many of them will be committed Christians. Finally his use of the words “us” and “my friends” helps to extend the rapport between him and the audience.
3: Moreover, King once again uses a collective pronoun “we” to bond and put himself at the same level as the audience. He also uses this pronoun to get across the point that they, together, will “face the difficulties”. This gives the effect of bringing the audience all together with the spokesperson leading the way to face any problems as a collective. At the end of this sentence is the fist time King says the words “I… have a dream”, this small phrase is repeated many time throughout the rest of the speech. These for words are in a way King’s ‘catch phrase’ in this speech; the repetition of it makes this the key point that everyone remembers about the speech. This is one of the main reasons why this speech is so powerful, the use of this phrase repeated over and over again, the dream that one day everyone will be free and equal. In the next sentence he goes on to say that his dream is “deeply rooted in the American dream”. Here King is trying to show to his audience that his dream for the future is the same as what is stated in the ‘American Declaration of Independence’. America being a very patriotic country, most Americans would know and believe very strongly in the American Declaration of Independence. This therefore this has a very strong impact on the audience, as the “American dream” is something very close to all American’s hearts. In the next paragraph king mentions more about the American Declaration of Independence.
4: King begins this paragraph with the “I have a dream” phrase, which he also uses to start the next 7 paragraphs with; he also follows this usually by saying “that one day”. This is called Anaphora and is a rhetorical tool used elsewhere in this speech, it gives his speech a repetitive structure and in this particular case creates list effect. He does this by using the phrase before each...
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