An advocate is someone who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Cesar Chavez was an advocate, an advocate to change the way farmworkers are treated with their working environments. In his speech “Lessons of Martin Luther King Jr.”, Chavez uses allusion, parallelism, and diction to convince his audience to participate in the struggle for farm worker’s rights.
To begin with, Chavez uses allusion when he compares the farm workers struggles to one of a black man’s during civil rights. Firstly, Chavez writes, “we must learn his lessons and put his views into practice, so that we may truly be free at last” (323). In this excerpt, when he says “free at last”, he is comparing being free from racial injustice to being free from the harmful pesticide that the farmers were exposed to. Also, Chavez states, “[t]he time is now for people of all races and backgrounds, to sound the trumpets of change” (324). We can infer that when Chaves repeats King’s words “[t]he time is now”, he is telling his audience to take a stand just as MLK told African Americans.
In addition, Chaves uses parallelism to make a point valid and understood. He says that, “Dr. King was a powerful figure of destiny, of courage, of sacrifice, and of vision” and he praises, “ his accomplishment, his reason, or his selfish dedication” (323). This piece shows that repeating the words “of” and ”his” creates a much more dramatic effect on his speech by really specifying how great Martin Luther King was. Also, Dr. King’s telegram, he states, “[a] struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity” (325). Here, King uses parallelism to reassure Chavez to keep fighting for what he believes in, even through his struggles.
Lastly, Chavez uses strong diction to persuade his audience. He speaks, “. . . pesticides would bring great wealth and bountiful harvests. . . (325). We can infer that when he uses the word “bountiful”, he uses it in the context of a large quantity, a large quantity of crops that did not sprout like pesticide industry promised. There for, Chavez reassures the farmers to take a stand against them. Chavez also says, “we must use the same people power that vanquished injustice in Montgomery” (327). This shows us that when MLK uses the word “vanquished” he uses it in the context of persuading the audience to make this injustice to farmers disappear.
Chavez, an advocate for change, has persuaded the minds of many other people who believe that pesticide is the right thing for our plants and farmers. Chavez uses allusion, parallelism, and diction to do just that when he persuades his audience to create a safer environment for farm workers. Whether you are trying to extinguish racial injustice or creating a safer environment for farmers, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez both made this world a better place.