The civil rights movement was one of the most pivotal periods in United States history, and Martin Luther King was one of the most influential. In Martin Luther King’s speech, “Segregation and the Future”, to convey the theme of freedom he uses rhetorical devices such as repetition and metaphors.
In his speech, the use of repetition was used to better convey his points and to let the audience know what he wants with clarity. An example of this repetition is when he repeats the word, “leaders”. His use of repetition for the word leaders was to remind the National Committee of Rural Schools that they are supposed to lead with a purpose and that purpose according to Martin Luther King was to better educate both white and black students with equal treatment. He wants the leaders of the committee to lead others in a better way of thinking, and to stray from current ideas that infringe on the rights of African Americans. Another example of repetition in his speech is his use of the words, “not the way”. He wants the audience to know he views would impede upon their cause. He lists violence, hate and bitterness as things that are, “not the way” to help with their cause.
The second prominent rhetorical device that Martin Luther King used were metaphors. One example of a metaphor that coveys the theme of freedom is when compares a, “festering sore” to segregation. Martin Luther King’s comparison shows his contempt for segregation and how freedom is always the better choice. Comparisons to negative objects or situations, put things like segregation into a more personal and more understandable meaning, making this metaphor powerful. A second example of King’s use of metaphor is his comparison of the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board to a “joyous daybreak” that ended the “long night of human captivity”. Martin Luther King uses this comparison to show how momentous this Supreme Court decision was. The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitional, became a huge step toward equality and Martin Luther’s comparison shows this.
Martin Luther King’s use of repetition and metaphors makes his speeches more inspiring and more emotional to others. Without his use of rhetorical devices, his speeches would fall on deaf ears and wouldn’t have caused a movement toward equality. His use of repetition and metaphors in this speech better display his themes of freedom and have inspired America for years to come.