Parallelism In Speech From Birmingham Jail

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Throughout the speech, another scheme King uses frequently is parallelism, the strategy of repeating similar clauses, several times. Parallelism is useful to emphasize things and ideas to the audience, which, like all the other tropes and schemes. Early in his speech, King writes “riches of freedom” and “security of justice” and then “justice rolls down like waters” and “righteousness like a mighty stream.” In these two examples, King is using parallelism to express that the African American wants justice and freedom by repeating them next to each other and mentally connecting them in the reader’s mind, which is also connected with pathos as the terms King uses subtly emphasize those words and create good feelings in the reader. As campaigning…show more content…
King uses it in his speech in order to express all his points. First, King writes that “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” This antithesis makes the audience realize that the Negroes have been left behind and ignored while the rest of modern society has charged forward into prosperity and fortune. From this revelation, the audience will also realize that it is no fault of the Negro that they have been left behind – in contrast, modern society have been dragging them back through racism. In order to dispel any misguided ideas that whites have of the Negroes’ fortune, King tells them directly that Negroes are in poverty as everybody is blocking them from entering the ocean of “material prosperity.” The second time King uses antithesis is when he states that “Nineteen Sixty-Three is not an end, but a beginning,” which he aims to express that the revolution will not stop at 1963; rather it will have a new beginning. Finally, King uses antithesis one more time at the end of his speech, when he writes “when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands.” The pairs he mentions are all the direct opposites of each other, yet he says that they will all join hands together and be friends. King implies that one day, all…show more content…
“I Have a Dream,” however, played a major step into changing it. It managed to inspire a generation of blacks to never give up and made thousands of white Americans bitterly ashamed of their actions, forging a new start for society. Even now, it continues to make generations of people, not just Americans, to give up their racist beliefs and advocate social colorblindness. Without King, America would be probably still heavily segregated. Other than the speech’s heartwarming and moving content, King’s effective structure along with the usage of all three rhetorical modes and certain rhetorical tropes and schemes has revealed the reason “I Have a Dream” as a masterpiece of rhetoric and it persuades hundreds of thousands of people support the blacks instead of treating them
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