Biblical Allusions, Antithetical Structures and Triads: A Stylistics-Rhetoric Appraisal of Some Speeches by Martin Luther King Junior

  •  Seino Evangeline Fomukong    


In a text, linguistic choices are made by the language user depending on the linguistic resources available to them. The language user relies on appropriate and embellished use of language to make their work interesting and produce a special effect on their audience. For this effect to take place there is an interplay of the linguistic and situational aspects of language. Stylistic analysis therefore aims at explicating how the understanding of a text is achieved, by examining in detail the linguistic organization of a text in relation to the context of situation, and focussing on the affective content. This can be linked to the study of rhetoric which is all about a set of rules and strategies which enable orators to speak well, using language in a more decorative and embellished manner to affect the opinions and feelings of the audience. This is persuasive language, which makes the audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer’s point of view, to feel what the writer feels. It is against this background that this study is going to carry out a stylistic rhetoric analysis on the language used by Martin Luther King Junior in six of his speeches. In these speeches he uses biblical allusions, antithetical structures and triads emphatically, as stylistic devices that make his speeches more memorable and appeal to the emotions of his audience.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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