I Have a Dream Critique

Topics: African American, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson Pages: 6 (1874 words) Published: August 24, 2012
The speech ‘I have a dream’ is one of the most memorable speeches of all the times. This meaningful emotional speech was delivered by Dr.Martin Luther King Jr, on 28 August 1963. He delivered it from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C. during the massive “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” In this speech Martin Luther King called for racial equality and an end to discrimination since Afro Americans were deprived of their rights even equal right were given them by Abraham Lincoln. It is also very important to note that more than 200,000 people gathered to listen to his speech during the ‘March’, including a good number of white men who were against racial discrimination. The speech was also ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. Many scholars have examined this speech from various perspectives.

I have a dream- Text
The speech was a significant moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. It contains around 1,660 words. At first it was titled "Normalcy, Never Again." The first drafts never included the phrase ‘I have a dream’. Dr. King had already delivered a speech similar to this, in Detroit in June 1963 during his march on Woodward Avenue. It is believed that well known title “I have a dream” came from the greatly improvised content and delivery of that speech. It is also said that close to the end of the speech, famous Afro American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to Dr. King from the multitude asking him to tell them about his dream. Afterwards Dr.King started punctuating his points with “I have a dream”.

Tone of the Speech
It is very interesting to note that Dr.King uses very powerful images and uplifting language to create a persuasive and moving speech. He has used a very powerful language and an optimistic tone. If we read the text we can understand that he has developed the speech to persuade people and thus to bring change. It gave a great hope and power to go against the discrimination of the time.

The Speech
The power and mesmerizing quality of the phrases cannot be analyzed profoundly. Even now the magic words of this speech continue to inspire many souls around the world. It describes not only the transformation of oppression and injustice into an oasis of freedom but gives a call to every to get into action. This speech gathered them together to achieve freedom. It is said to be the best example for rhetoric. “Uses of hypnotic phrases, metaphors and soaring imagery make this speech more drama than poetry. As drama it must be heard and seen. More than poetry, this speech also said to be a drama. King's rhetorical genius was oral, Lincoln's written. Lincoln spoke transcendentally, while King spoke in the moment” says Journalist Richard. The use of the words revolt and militancy do not carry any special significance in the speech. Revolt was an accepted designation for the civil disobedience that characterized the early years of the 1960s. Both activists and commentators use the word to convey the mood of the Black Community-a mood that committed itself to direct, open, public challenges to the southern status quo.

American Political situation
Drew D.Hansen in his book ‘The Dream’ claims that King's words proved to be a keystone for understanding the social and political turmoil of those times: He notes, "Dr.King gave the nation a vocabulary to express what was happening". The Afro Americans were denied their rights. They were treated badly. Even the government officials were against the people and treated them as second class citizens and some times worse than a dog. It continued for nearly 200 year. Many protest against this discrimination. They also started several movements. One such was Civil Rights Movement in which Martin Luther King Joined and gave this speech.

Critical analysis
Anaphora (Emphasize Phrases by repeating words at the beginning of neighbouring clauses) is...
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