Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Beyond Vietnam

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In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech “Beyond Vietnam-A Time to Break Silence.” In the speech, King argues against American involvement in the Vietnam War and explains why he cannot remain silent. King builds an effective argument by using imagery, noting the irony associated with the war, and pointing out the contrast between America before the war and America then. One of King’s main techniques he uses to persuade the audience of his point is imagery. For example, he says that “if America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.” King uses this metaphor to establish the potentially dreadful consequences of America continuing to fight the war. Since an autopsy is only done on dead creatures, King is saying that eventually, the soul of America might “die.” The imagery paints a dark picture in the audience’s mind. It allows them to imagine what might happen if America were to keep fighting in the war. Furthermore, such a vivid picture will linger permanently in the audience’s mind, which will make them think about the terrible outcome in the future. …show more content…

He says “we were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.” King uses this statement to point out the inconsistency with America trying to establish freedom far away before establishing freedom on their own home soil. Additionally, King’s statement that Southeast Asia is eight thousand miles away strengthens the irony by making Southeast Asia seem like a place which is completely disconnected from America. This quote causes the audience to realize the contradiction in the Vietnam war policy, making them less likely to accept

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