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The Ballot Or The Bullet By Malcolm X Analysis

959 words - 4 pages

The purpose of this speech was to encourage African - Americans to stand up for their rights and vote, so that their voices will be heard. This was incredibly during that time period because even though slavery had been abolished nearly a hundred years earlier, African - American were still being undoubtedly oppressed by white Americans. He also wants his audience to consider what would be the most efficient way to make sure that their voices are heard, by using the democratic opportunities available to them, and voting, or by resorting to violence to gain attention. It should also be understood as a warning to white Americans, that if the black community do not receive the respect they ...view middle of the document...

Although this is the speakers primary audience, the speech is also directed at white Americans by threatening them with violence, as I stated above.

Several different rhetorical devices are used throughout the speech, the most common being repetition. The word “you” is used constantly from start to finish, this appeals to ethos as it will make every listener feel understood and important. In addition the word “we” is used, as to unite the speaker and the audience. The phrase “The Ballot or the Bullet” is also repeated continuously so that it is set into the mind of the entire audience, this also makes it somewhat of a “slogan” as well as a title. The word “march/marching” is also repeated, it illustrates that white Americans control them, as marching implies obedience.

Metaphors are also used in the speech, for example, "They've become dissatisfied, and all of this has built up frustrations in the black community that makes the black community throughout America today more explosive than all of the atomic bombs the Russians can ever invent." This tells the audience that there is so much frustration within their community that non violence may not even be an option anymore. In addition anaphora is used, for example,"He made a chump out of you. He made a fool out of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere but between Lincoln and Washington." The repetition of “he made” in this quote continues to emphasize the control that the white Americans have over the audience.

Most of the rhetorical devices that are used in speech refer to the dominance that the white Americans have over the African - American community, and does so very well. It makes speech even more aggressive and...

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