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I Have a Dream: Rhetorical Analysis

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    The speech was given on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, in a time where it was very difficult for blacks everywhere, and they wanted to change the way they were treated. The civil rights movement was becoming more and more popular at this time. Purpose: To motivate people to make a change.

    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ” (paragraph 16) This emotionally connects with all the parents listening to the speech. They know what it feels like to want the best for their children. Because King was a minister, he was well respected by many people. He referred to the audience as “my people” which shows how he shared their same views and was respected by a majority of them.

    King did not use the classical model in his speech. He used exemplification as his pattern of arrangement. He mentioned many states in his speech, including Mississippi, New York, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and others. He mentioned Mississippi four times because that is where the civil rights movement was the strongest. In the “I have a dream…” section of the speech, King gives many examples of what he believes the world should be like.

    King also alludes to the Constitution to establish ethos. It shows that he is well educated and knows a lot about the subject. It also shows that it’s ironic that our country is based on a document that says something like this, but continues to treat blacks and other minorities like they are inferior to whites. Paragraph 20|

    “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. ” Isaiah 40:4-5 says, “Every valley shall be exalted and very mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. King’s dream is to have the world be like God wanted, not what it has turned into. “And when this happens. We will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual”.

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