Example Speech Analysis

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Example Speech Analysis

"I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

given on April 28, 1963

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The key message in his speech is that all people are created equal and, although not the case in America at the time, King felt it must be the case for the future & in order to make that happen everyone had to speak up for what was right and fair.

King's reference to Abraham Lincoln would have played deeply on many. After all, Lincoln was the person who freed the slaves. He calls on this great figure in African American history in order to show people that they too can make a difference.


But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

AnaphoraKing's repetition of the phrase "One hundred years later..." is used to emphasis the extended amount of time that has passed since slaves were freed. He points out that eventhough they were granted their freedom, African Americans still did not have the basic freedoms granted to other Americans.

Figurative Language - Metaphor“...rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”In order to contrast segregation with racial justice, King evokes the contrasting metaphors of dark and desolate valley (of segregation) and sunlit path (of racial justice.)

King's Dream Realized

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women, and ended racial segregation in the United States. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public.

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom..." Since it is the primary theme of the speech, it is not surprising that the word "freedom" is used twenty times over the course of King's speech. King wants people to know that in order achieve freedom they must fight for it.

Theme & Repitition

Source Citations:"True Leaders Work for Peace." Two Peas in a Bucket. Web. 19 Oct 2010."Silence." The Downing Street Project. Web 19 Oct 2010."We Cry." The Script. The Script. March 2009.



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