Activity Four: Language

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and explain illustrative language in the text.
2. Describe how the use of language impacts you after reading the speech.
3. Describe how the use of language impacts you after hearing the speech.

Students will have read and listened to the speech in its entirety. Students should also have learned what illustrative language is. For this activity, you could choose one method of delivery and respond to the questions, and then do the same activity with the other method. In other words, students could first analyze it using the written copy, and then perform the analysis again after hearing it.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a renowned speaker in part because of his masterful command of language. “A Creative Protest” includes many forms of illustrative language that help deliver his message in clear and powerful ways. For this activity, select a segment of the speech (such as two paragraphs) and identify all of the following:
1. metaphors
2. allusions
3. adjectives or adverbs

Now answer the following questions:
1. Why do you think Dr. King used this kind of illustrative language?
2. How is using illustrative language a way of being audience centered?
3. How does Dr. King’s use of illustrative language impact his ethos as a speaker?
4. How does using language in this way help your understanding of the ideas in this speech? How, if at all, does using language in this way hinder your understanding of the ideas in the speech?
5. How does using language in this way impact your emotional response to the speech, positively and/or negatively?
6. Which is the most compelling or appealing use of illustrative language in the selection you analyzed? Why? In answering why it drew your attention, be sure to explain what the metaphor, allusion, or modifier helped your understanding of the idea in that usage.
7. Is there a speaker, writer, musician, or artist that you enjoy who uses language in this way? If so, who? How does their use of language compare to this speech?
8. Choose one sentence or phrase to rewrite in more literal language. How does this impact the meaning and emotional appeal of that phrase or sentence? Which do you prefer? Why?