COMM 201 BSC Wk 5 Kings Use of Language in His I Have a Dream Speech Essay


The website American Rhetoric ranks Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech as the top-ranking speech of the 20th century.  While you have more than likely heard portions of the speech, the power of the speech can only be heard when heard full-length. Click on the link below to listen to the 16 minute, 27-second audio file of Martin Luther King Jr’s speech.

Audio file: “I Have a Dream

After you listen, reflect on what you heard.  In your initial post, address the following:

Discuss King’s use of language to inspire his audience. Give examples of the powerful words and language King uses.

Explain what you perceive as the power behind these words and how they enhance the impact of this speech.

Explain why you believe 137 leading scholars chose this particular speech to represent the best speech of the 20th century.

  • PART B Watch the following 6 minute, 2-second video of Councilperson Phil Davison during his delivering a speech for his run for the Republican nomination for Stark County Treasurer. This video is a significant contrast from previous speeches you have viewed.  As you watch the video, please consider the following:
  • Consider Davison’s approach to delivering this extemporaneous speech.  
  • Consider his voice throughout (articulation, pronunciation, vocal quality, pitch, speed, pauses, projection).

Consider his non-verbals while speaking (appearance, movement, and gestures, facial expressions, eye contact).

In a multi-paragraph essay, a minimum of 750-words, consider the characteristics of Dananjaya Hettiarachchi’s winning presentation.  In your essay, be sure to discuss the following:

  • Describe the errors Davison makes in delivering his extemporaneous speech.  Give examples for improving his delivery.
  • Describe the adjustments he needs to make to this speech to ensure a successful vocal delivery of his speech.
  • Discuss how his non-verbals impact the listener.  Give suggestions for ways he could adjust or improve his non-verbals to ensure message delivery.


Keeping your purpose and audience in mind, video record your speech  and submit a first version (rough draft) of your persuasive speech for instructor feedback.

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