To: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Subject: Your "I Have a Dream" Speech
Dr. King, I am writing you to tell you how powerful and emotionally compelling I found your “I Have a Dream Today!” speech that you gave on August 28, 1963. That day you shared your hopes and dreams for the unity of our nation and effectively used metaphors to help bring out feeling, and to stimulate and arouse your audience. The metaphor use was the foundation of your speech, I think, and was a unique and effective style. I think using metaphors the way you did helped influence your listeners towards imagining the possibility of achieving equality for all and changing what was happening in the present in hopes that history would not repeat itself.
Two metaphors especially stood out for me. One was in the second paragraph where you are saying that the people of color are still not free today, and “the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.” This metaphor to me is being used to capture the hardships and horrible life that people of color had to go through in our history, and were still going through in the 1960s. What goes along with the above metaphor is were you are describing the horrible segregation in America as “languishing in the corners of American society.”
The second metaphor I liked was your use of the idea of freedom as ‘riches’, using a money theme which is prevalent through the speech, and works well because we are a capitalist society. People are concerned with getting money, because money is needed to live, and by using a metaphor of money, you make a case that freedom is equally necessary. “In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check” you say, describing the idea of checks and balances that need to be paid off. “So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” The money metaphor use illustrates...