Stylistic Analysis of “ I Have A Dream”
“All the fun is in how you say a thing.” Robert Frost’s words give us a perfect explanation about why the style is so important in an article. According to Alan Warner, style is a way of writing, a manner of expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in words. A same meaning can have different effects on its readers by being put in different ways. This article is to take the famous speech of Martin Luther King as an example to analyze and discuss its stylistic characteristics. It is not only the spirit of equality and liberty advocated in the speech but also its impressive style that contribute to its great success. Style—Author
Brooks and Warren, in an excellent book, Fundamental of Good Writing, have compared style to the grain in wood. “ The style of a work is not a sort of veneer glued over the outside. On the contrary, it is like the pattern of the grain in a piece of wood.” It is a pattern that goes all the way through: a manifestation of the growth and development of the stricture of the tree itself. As a man thinks and feels, so will he write. If his thoughts are muddled, his style will be muddled. If his thoughts are clear and sharp, his writing will be clear and sharp. “A man’s style,” wrote Emerson, “is his mind’s voice.” And he added: “ Wooden minds, wooden voices.” Since style is something ingrained in writing and not stuck on top like a veneer, it follows that a man’s way of wring will be an expression of his personality and his way of looking at life. Martin Luther King, the follower of the nonviolent principles of Mahatma Grandhi, conveyed his belief to the audience through the whole speech. All he said about the poor living conditions of Negro and the discrimination against the black people was nothing but fact. That is, he didn’t say anything exaggerative or sensational to turn the listeners into riot. On the contrary, he stated clearly that they should “ struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline” instead of “degenerating into physical violence.” In addition, the author was also a supporter of eliminating the racial discrimination in society. In the speech, he formed a beautiful blue print of white and black people living equally and happily together. I ‘d like to use the sentence given by Buffon, a French writer and naturalist of 18th century to sum up my idea: “ Le style, c’est l’homme meme.” (Style, it is the man himself.)
In another sense, the word “style” is often used to mean good, clean English. Raymond Chapman, the author of A Short Way to Better English, states: “ Bad writing is caused not so much by mistakes in grammar as by weakness in style.” Weakness in style here means clumsiness of expression, lack of precision and accuracy, obscurity and ambiguity, and anything that hinders the writer from conveying his meaning clearly and vividly to the reader. In my opinion, the best way of describing English that is clear and vigorous, free from verbiage and affectations, and doing its job of conveying meaning cleanly to the readers. The following paragraphs will discuss the point of “clean English” from 4 aspects. The Arrangement
This speech aims to call the attention of the whole society to the poor condition the blacks and the Negro were still in and highlight the urgent need to change it. The author didn’t state it immediately at the beginning of his speech. Instead, he started by mentioning the history. In this way, the author convinced his listeners that they had the right and obligation to make equality come true in the society because it was handed down from their ancestors. The author then brought out the discrimination and segregation black people were suffering in reality and further demonstrated the black people’s firm determination to overthrow the present world. If the author had kept on in this direction, the audience, especially those who had been long oppressed, would have raised a riot since...
References: Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, Fundamental of Good Writing (Dobson, 1952)
Alan Warner, A Shout Guide to English Style (London, Oxford University Press, 1961)
Since “style” is the way of using language to express one’s thoughts and feelings, the most suitable pre-modifier to it is “appropriate” or “inappropriate” rather than “good”, “bad”, “strong” or “weak”.
In some sense, style is a person, or everyone has his style.
There is no person who has no style in the world.
That is why our study of one’s style starts with the choice of words, namely lexical level, and then turns to the choice of sentence structure, namely syntactic level, before discussing the use of figure of speech, namely semantic level. Besides, what is most likely to be neglected is the use of sound patterns, namely phonological level.
So much the better if you could follow the format of the thesis writing as shown in the PowerPoint of this course.
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