His word choice matched the strength of his message.
This lesson plan allows students to review literary terms, rhetorical devices and figurative language with a scavenger hunt through “I Have a Dream” speech. Give each student a printed copy of the “I Have a Dream” speech, which you can print from here.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
We could call this example hyperbole, because King is using lots of “alls” and “every”s.
Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."placing") is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect. Antithesis can be defined as "a figure of speech involving a seeming contradiction of ideas, words, clauses, or sentences within a balanced grammatical structure.Parallelism of expression serves to emphasize opposition of ideas".It also makes the lines memorable, and perhaps represents the equality of the people fighting together.Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. '” I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.The speech begins with “Five score years ago…”, a reference to the Gettysburg Address and ends with the “words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.If you ever want to jazz up a crowd, use some parallelism in your sentences.It will make people ready to fight…peacefully, of course.Then you can have students discuss or write about the speech using the literary terminology. (You can choose as many or as few as you’d like for your class to focus on for this lesson). Explain to students that they’ll be looking for the literary terms you’ve reviewed. Show the video of the speech, and while students are watching, ask them to underline and label examples of literary terms that they find. Give students time in small groups to review the examples that they found and search for more. Either hold a discussion about how King’s use of these literary terms helped him to spread his message, or ask students to write an essay addressing that question.This lesson can be modified to work well for everyone from students just learning about metaphor for the first time to AP students reviewing for their upcoming exams. If you click on the hyperlinked terms, you’ll find definitions and individualized lesson plans that we’ve created for the term. Give some historical background on the “I Have a Dream” speech by watching Flocabulary’s civil right’s song, “Let Freedom Ring.” The song will be free for Martin Luther King day, until January 20. You could also make this a competition to see which group can find the most examples of literary terms. In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.