On august 28, 1963, a civil right activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his most famous speech called “I Have a Dream” during the march on Washington. In his speech, Dr. King used many literary elements in order to enhance his speech. He included allusion, metaphors, personification and tropes such as anaphora, alliteration and rhetoric question. Dr. Martin Luther King began his speech with a personifications and metaphors. The first personification he used to describe what it was like to live as an African American during the 1900’s. He stated “One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination,” which means the African American (Negro) were handcuffed by the segregation and no matter what they do or how smart they are, they will never be able to escape segregation and they are chained by the discrimination.
This discrimination won’t let them do what they are capable of doing. The metaphor is used in the speech to compare the African Race to a bad check, “insufficient fund.” When the slavery ended in America, the African American hoped to cash the check of freedom, when the magnificent words flow from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but instead to honoring the words, American gave the African the “bad check” which eventually come back as insufficient fund. As the speech goes on, he used a paradox to show the contradiction. This quote, “I have dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:’ we hold these truths to be elf-evident: that all men are created equal,’” is a perfect example of paradox because in the constitution, its states that all men are created equal and even though the constitution is consider to be the supreme law of the land, people chose to ignore it.
He used anaphora to emphasize that he dreams about, to live in American without the segregation and the hostile feeling between the White and the African American. The use of rhetoric question, help readers and listeners to think of their own answer. In the speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his own Rhetoric question and his answer to the question. “When will you be satisfied?” he asked, and he answered “we can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality,” he would never be satisfied until the African American and White hold hands and recite the National Anthem. Adding the subtle or an obvious element can improve any piece of writing tremendously. They can give the text that hunting feeling, where the goosebumps start crawling into your skins. The elements used in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech helped the speech into becoming one of the most influential speech written in the world.