The Ballot or the Bullet
In the 1960’s, there was constant conflict with racism and equal rights. Malcolm X voiced his strong opinion on the topic. He had a speech which impacted peoples’ views. Malcolm X wrote a speech called “The Ballot or the Bullet.” In the speech, Malcolm X uses rhetorical devices, and emphasizes his tone and mood throughout his speech to emphasize his major points and to catch the listeners’ attention.
Malcolm X’s speech was extremely powerful. A rhetorical device he used was repetition. Repetition is just repeating an idea or phrase or word. He constantly repeated you; “you wouldn't be faced” is just one example. He also uses the rhetorical device of repetition saying, “I’m not”. The repetition of both of these examples becomes a very catchy phrase of the audience. Malcolm also repeats words such as “Polacks,” and “Hunkies.” The effect of the repetition is telling the white race that the African Americans are no longer messing around. It also shows that the African Americans are no longer scared. The repetition gets the key phrases stuck in your head. Also, metaphors are used. In the speech Malcolm uses a metaphor; “the ballot or the bullet” to show the struggle of African Americans to gain and use their rights as full citizens. Yet another device, understatement, is used. Understatement is purposely expressing an idea as less important than it really is. Malcolm says; "When I speak, I don't speak as a Democrat, or a Republican...I speak as a victim of America's so-called democracy.” The effect of the understatement makes the listeners think about what he is saying and believing he himself is a victim. Each rhetorical device he used has a specific purpose.
Malcolm X also uses tone and mood in his speech to emphasize himself. The title of the speech creates the beginning tone and mood. He wants African Americans to take action....