Persuasion through Stylistic Techniques
When Jesse Jackson, a reverend and a member of Martin Luther King’s inner circle said, “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” he is elaborating further on Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech saying that the African American community should not be forced into their future by the socioeconomic problems that face them, but rather seek to attain the higher goals they dream of. In August 1963, Dr. King was led to the Lincoln Memorial by his dreams to stand up for what he believed in, which were civil rights for African Americans. Dr. King chose this site to make a historic and emotional connection to the man who initially gave the “Negro” his freedom: Abraham Lincoln. Dr. King was one of the most charismatic and dynamic orators of the twentieth century and proved this by his effective use of stylistic techniques to achieve maximum rhetorical appeal to his audience. Dr. King’s oratory is carefully worded to get his message across by using figurative language to illustrate his ideas while focusing on reiterating key phrases to emphasize their importance, thereby, establishing his credibility and emotionally moving his audience to give their ardent support to the civil rights movement. In Dr. King’s speech, he carefully uses biblical word choice to establish his credibility and make an emotional connection to his audience in order to persuade people to listen to his ideas. Dr. King is an ordained Baptist minister, establishing him in his audience’s eyes as a man of authority, a devout man, and a moral leader. He uses biblical phrases throughout his speech making his ideas persuasive through the use of the rhetorical appeal of ethos. Dr. King states, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” (21). Dr. King makes reference to the cup that is used to take communion. This is a communal cup that when all...
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