Hope is On the Horizon

May 25, 2011
By Anonymous

“Free at Last! (King)” These were words spoken by MLK at the end of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. A speech that gave hope to those involved in the Civil Rights Movement. MLK strove to persuade these people to keep moving forward and never give up on their dream of freedom and equality. Martin Luther King successfully persuaded the black and white citizens who attended his speech that there was hope for American equality in the ways that he used metaphors, emotional appeals, history, and loaded words.

First of all, MLK successfully persuaded these citizens that equality will come by the ways in which he used history. In the beginning of his speech, he refers back to the Emancipation Proclamation. He states, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.(King)” These phrases reminded the people of the beginning to their fight for equality. Next he states, “But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free.(King)” This statement causes the black citizens to be angry and it helps to persuade them that they need to keep fighting. The way in which MLK used history in his speech is just one of the many reasons for which MLK persuaded the people to not give up hope.

Next, MLK uses emotional appeal to persuade his audience to keep going and never give up. He explains that he has a vision of what he hopes the future will be. He says, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.(King)” This statement motivates the viewers to make this vision a reality. Therefore, this is a way in which MLK persuaded his audience to fight!

Another way in which MLK persuades his audience is in his uses of metaphor. He uses many metaphors to explain to the people the crisis they are in and how they need to get out. For example, “the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.(King)” By stating “the manacles of segregation” and “the chains of discrimination,” MLK uses these metaphors to inform the people that they need to “break free” from the bondage of racial segregation. Another example is that of “we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. (King)” By using this metaphor, MLK is persuading the people to ignore the brutality and seek the justice that they deserve. Therefore, that’s another usage of persuasion that Martin Luther King portrayed in his speech.

Finally, his uses of loaded words in his speech connect with the audience in a way that raises cheers because the people are becoming persuaded to believe MLK. He uses many loaded words that the audience can connect with. For example, “when we allow freedom ring....(King)” This statement uses the loaded word “freedom” to get across the point that they will someday get freedom. His uses of loaded words persuaded those who attended his speech that hope and freedom were in their future.

There are many ways in which MLK persuaded the people who attended his speech that hope was there and freedom was near. His uses of history reminded the people of the beginning and that it was possible to carry on to the end. Next, his emotional appeal gave the people an idea of the hope that was near and from the cheers that arose when he spoke these words, it is clear that he persuaded them to carry on. The way that MLK used metaphors gave the audience an idea of where they’ve been and the justice that they will soon have. His uses of loaded words spoke to the very core of each being and persuaded them to believe. MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech gave black citizens the hope and strength to carry on in a world filled with segregation and the cheers that arose from the crowd showed that he completed his mission.

Works Cited List

"American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - I Have a Dream." American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2011. <http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm>.

The author's comments:
This essay that I wrote is an analyzing and evaluating persuasion essay that analyzes the persuasive techniques that MLK used in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

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