Literary Discourse and Human Rights in Martin Luther King’s Speech: ‘I Have a Dream.’

Mujahid Ahmed Mohammed Alwaqaa

Abstract


This paper attempts to explore the role of literary discourse, particularly engaged literature, in consolidating the values of human rights. It is an in-depth literary analysis of Martin Luther King’s speech: “I Have a Dream” in terms of form and content. Central to this paper is an effort to find out the tremendous power of literary discourse in positively changing and shaping individuals and societies by creating public awareness regarding rights and duties. Burning issues such as human rights violations and abuses are often brought into awareness and directly tackled by literary discourse. When people are given their rights, social justice and human development become inevitable. Findings from the discussion and analysis of Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” show that literature do have a pivotal role to play in human rights promotion and social development. This role is important because literature does not exist for its own sake or in a vacuum. It is, rather, a true reflection and mirror of the mores and milieu of society. Moreover; it is a powerful expression of the sufferings, agonies and above all aspirations of the masses. The ability of human beings to articulate themselves in the form of literary discourse is the most substantial power they possess in shaping their destiny and life in general.  


Keywords


Human rights; Engaged literature; Development; Society; Speech; Literary discourse

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11462

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