M.L.K and Malcolm X
The two most influential civil rights activists in American history were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. They supported equal rights for every race, but when comparing MLK’s “I Have a Dream’ and Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet,” one sees the similarities in their rhetorical styles and differences in their tone and message. As seen in “I Have a Dream,” MLK has a more civilized and peaceful solution to the nation’s problems; whereas in X’s he has a will to do whatever it may take to solve the problems. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X use the same rhetorical strategies to enhance their message in their speeches. One device or strategy is repetition. In King’s speech he repeated the phrase “I have a dream’ in order to emphasize to his audience the importance on their cause and to stimulate the people’s pride furthering civil rights. King wanted everyone to see America’s true potential and beauty and how America could be. Malcolm X also demonstrated the use of repetition when he repeats “I’m not here.” He illustrates to his audience that he is not there to talk about himself, but of the greater cause, in other words, the fight for civil rights. Though both may have used the same devices and advocated the same goal, both had opposite solutions to the nation’s problem. Another shared quality in their works is the use of antithesis. In Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream”, he states “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” He depicts that the nation should end all discrimination and come together as one and become a unit of one another harmonizing. X also had great use of this device to amplify compassion for his cause. An excellent example is the phrase and title, “The ballot or the bullet.” He like King wanted to end all the racial barriers that the nation had, but instead of encouraging the act of nonviolence he told the “negro” community that they either take...
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