I have a dream修辞学分析


         Rhetorical Analysis of I Have a Dream    “I have a dream”, the well-known speech delivered by Martin Luther King, displays many kinds of rhetoric features. I will analyze it in terms of alliteration, simile, metaphor, parallelism, repetition, antithesis, comparison, quotation and the usage of words. 1、Alliteration (1)We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline(para10) (2)Great trials and tribulations (para15)    By using alliteration, King enhanced the rhythm of language to make it more memorable.   2、Simile   (1)No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." (para14) (2)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. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.(para2)    We can see the signal words “like” and “as”here. King grew an analogy between the Declaration of Independence and the beacon light of hope, a joyous daybreak, evoking admiration in the audiences.   3、Metaphor   (1)Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred .(para10) (2)One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. (para3) (3)In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.(para4) (4)It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."   This metaphor hits the bird in the eye.King legalizing their action of demonstration as the deed of cashing a check,ridding the protesters of guilty and shame.     Without clear signal words, these are vivid and accurate analogies, making the profound truths more understandable and memorable.   4、Parallelism  (1)We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies,heavy with the fatigue of travel,cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.    We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.    We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.(para13、14) (2)Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.(para6)     King strongly stressed the emergency here,making the audiences feel that they can no long just wait silently, doing nothing. (3)Let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.    Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.    Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.    Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.    But not only that:    Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.    Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.   (para26-34) (4)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.    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.    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.    I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.     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."?(para18-22)     Parallelism is frequently seen in this speech, including phrases, sentences and paragraphs. By applying these similar structures, King equipped the speech with agitation and great charisma.   5、Antithesis and Comparison (1)This sweltering summer of the Negro’s Legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.(para6)    The speech was delivered on August 28th  when summer was leaving and autumn was approaching,so this comparison of sweltering summer and invigorating autumn is quite claptrap and appropriate,enhancing the audience's desire for freedom and equality. (2)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.(para2) (3)Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.(para6) (4) With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood(para24)     These phrases have identical structure but they are completely opposite in meaning,shaping a sharp contrast to deepen the audiences’desire for getting rid of the current injustice and starting a new life.   6、Quotation (1)reference to the Declaration of Independence:     "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."(para17) the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (para4) (2)quotation from the first verse of the traditional song “America”:    “My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!”(para25) (3)refer to Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation:     Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. (para2) (4)use the Bible:     We will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."(para14) (5)quotation from the Old Testament:     The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.(para22)     The quotations can build and strengthen the authority and persuasiveness.   7、Repetition I have a dream today!(para20、21) This sentence appears twice in the speech to arouse the excitement of the audience.   8、Words (1)I say to you today, my friends. (para17) But there is something that I must say to my people.(para9)   The words“my friends” and “my people” sounds sincere as if it were a conversation but not a speech and thus build his trustworthiness. (2) This is our hope.   (para23) With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. (para25) King used “our,we”instead of “I” to show that he is in the same boat with his people.They have to unite. (3) We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. (para10)     The words “must” and “forever, again and again” strongly stress his calling for resolute action.     With all these rhetoric devices , the speech becomes more powerful and enlightening. 本文来自香当网http://www.xiangdang.net/

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