Have you ever had a craving and didnt know which restaurant to go to. And at that moment, it was the most difficult decision you had make. Well, in the 1960s, blacks were put in a situation where they had to worry about which place would accept them. In Greensboro, North Carolina, college students were motivated by anger and frustration to "challenge the practice of denying the service to blacks" ("Dr. Martin Luther King Jr"). As black students occupied a lunch counter at Woolworth, they were forced to leave. Days later, students began filling seats at lunch counters throughout the city, which later became known as sit-ins. These sit-ins inspired Dr. King to support their nonviolent actions against discrimination, which helped the movement flourish throughout the south and the nation. As a result, he begins giving speeches, and in order to give his audience a better understanding of the hate that is spreading, he uses emphasis within his speech by creating antitheses, using metaphors, and repetitive language.
Throughout his speech, Dr. King uses antithesis in order to create emotion in his audience. One example of this can be found in paragraph three of his speech, where he states, "One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity" (1). In this sentence, King contrasts "lonely island" with "vast ocean" and "poverty" with "prosperity" in order to create tension. Through the use of contrasting ideas, he successfully illustrates a vivid picture of the difficult times the blacks had to face during that time, thus allowing his audience to grasp a strong feeling of sentiment towards the Negros. Towards the beginning of his speech, in paragraph five, Dr. King provides another example of antithesis. He recites, "Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial justice to the solid rock of brotherhood" (1). In other words, Dr. King declares that this nation needs to stop trying to justify a means to the inequality and finally set a new foundation where everyone will be able to stand firm as equals. He says that now is the right time to rise above discrimination against African Americans and become a country where citizens are united and treated equally. By emphasizing the need for change and showing determination in finding a solution for the citizens, he instills his audience with feelings of hope and excitement.
Dr. King uses another stylistic technique called metaphor to establish pathos. In paragraph six of his speech, he states, "The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality" (1). This is placed right after the example where it discusses the topic of injustice, and it begins the rest of the essay on how black people will not stop until they get what is rightfully theirs, equal rights. By stating "the sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent," King depicts an image of the blacks being in frustration, suffering, restlessness and a longing for relief. He continues with "an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality" and illustrates the slaves being released from the leash of the oppression set by the whites and their laws, creating emotions of happiness in the blacks. Another example of a metaphor is "This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice" (1). When Dr. King says "a great beacon of light of hope," he makes an allusion to the Emancipation Proclamation saying that it was a hope for the beginning of a substantial change in the lives of Negro slaves. As he goes on to say "seared in the flames of withering injustice," King aims to exemplify the injustice brought onto the slaves.
Dr. King also connects with his audience emotionally through use of repetition. In the beginning of his speech, he stresses with passion:
"But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land" (1).
He repeats "one hundred years later" four times to emphasize that even after one hundred years from Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, little change has been made in the lives of African-Americans. Furthermore, he continues to stress the negativity and brutality of the white people. By saying "segregation" and "discrimination" and "exile," Dr. King shows repetitiveness in his attempt to stir emotions from his audience. He uses these words to induce anger and frustration within African-Americans by explaining the harsh standards that the white people have left them to live under. He also evokes anger and frustration in the white people by making them realize their immoral behavior and making them feel guilty for their wrongdoings.
In Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, King seeks for justice and stops at nothing to fulfill the dreams of all black men to be free of racial injustice and live in a world of freedom and equality. He expresses his position on the matter and makes use of the modes of persuasion, one being pathos. He evokes emotions in his audience by creating tension, implying comparison, and repeating key words and phrases. Dr. King appeals to the blacks' emotions by instilling feelings of anger, frustration, hope, and happiness, while filling the whites with guilt, hatred, and fury. Through these, King influences his audience to speak up and fight for a change.