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The Rhetorical Canon of I Have a Dream - Assignment Example

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The aim of the paper “The Rhetorical Canon of I Have a Dream” is to provide Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, which serves as a primer of rhetorical canon. The arrangement, style and delivery act to persuade the listener that they partake of a historic event…
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The Rhetorical Canon of I Have a Dream
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The Rhetorical Canon of I Have a Dream

Download file to see previous pages... The timeline concentrates on Lincoln’s signing the Emancipation Proclamation as the beginning of positive change.
 The second third of the speech outlines the (then) current struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. This section of the speech addresses the shortcomings of progress toward full citizenship of blacks, acknowledges the support of some whites and calls for a continued, unified effort of civilized discourse and non-violent actions.
 The third section of the speech calls for action to complete the process. Martin Luther King, Jr. preaches his vision of America, America intended by the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers, and President Lincoln.
 His conclusion follows the montage of “My Country ‘is of Thee” imagery tying a negro spiritual refrain dreamed as a unified call from all races and religions, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” A great connection of pathos and logos.
 The first content section of the speech begins with a paraphrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today...” cleverly ties the setting to the subject matter. This device is part repetition and part reference through paraphrasing. The description continues as a simile; the proclamation “came as a great beacon light of hope” and “as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity”. (King, 1963)
 The introduction and conclusion bookend the speech with a hard cadence of “freedom” and “free”. (King, 1963) This style highlights the moral and ethical (ethos) belief that freedom for all Americans is unalienable (pathos).
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