is a project of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University
To highlight the contrast between two abstract concepts, consider associating them with contrasting concrete metaphors. For example, to contrast segregation with racial justice, King evokes the contrasting metaphors of dark and desolate valley (of segregation) and sunlit path (of racial justice.)
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
– Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963.
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This simile demonstrates the power of justice and righteousness, as well as the belief that equality is a natural thing. It’s also one of the most famous lines of the speech.
The rhetoric of King's speech can be compared to the rhetoric of Old Testament prophets. During King's speech, he speaks with urgency and crisis giving him a prophetic voice. The prophetic voice must "restore a sense of duty and virtue amidst the decay of venality."  An evident example is when King declares that, "now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."