I？ Background Information:
The 1960s were turbulent times for the United States. The anti-war movement, the Civil Right movement, the counter-culture movement, the feminist movement were all unfolding in this period of time. The civil Rights movement was a major movement which began with the Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 and the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955. Martin Luther King jr. (1929-1968), as a key leader of the movement, played a significant and irreplaceable role. His name is associated with the march on Washington in 1963 and his famous speech “ I have a dream”, delivered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. He was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. this speech, delivered in 1967, in more on the side of reasoning and persuasion and less on emotional appeal. Thus his analysis of riots and revolution in the united states in his speech is sound and convincing. On the night of April4. 1968, King was shot dead, as he stood o the balcony of his hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
II. Discourse Analysis
Part I (Para. 1—2) Martin Luther King link the theme of the speech with the question of "Where we are now". That is, in order to know where we go from here we must first recognize where we are now. Without knowing our present situation, how can we design a policy for the future?
Part II (Para. 3—5) This is a transitional paragraph to call for all the
African-American must “rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian manhood”.
Part III (Para. 6--9) In this part the author puts forward the second task: how to organize the strength of the Negro in terms of economic and political power. Then the author goes on to define power and points out the consequence of the misinterpretation of power.
Part IV (Paras.10--15) This part deals with economic security for the Negro Americans. The speaker advocates guaranteed annual income which he thinks is possible and achievable. He also deals on the advantages of this security. Part V (paras. 16—20) In this part, Martin reaffirms his commitment to nonviolence. He explains why he thinks violence is no solution to racial discrimination. He refutes the idea of Black revolution.
Part VI (para 21—25) In this part, Dr. King raises a fundamental question—the
restructuring of the whole of American society. He points out that the problem of racism. The problem of economic exploitation and the problem of war are tied together. They are the triple evils of the society.
Part VII. (para 26—28) This part serves as the concluding remark for the speech: we shall overcome.
III. Detailed Study of the Text
1.(1)How does the speaker begins his speech?
In the first sentence of Para. 1, the speaker raises the question of “Where we are now”. He links
this up with the theme of the speech—“Where do we go from here?” It is highly logical. In order
to know where we go from here, we must recognize where we are now. Without knowing our present situation, how can we design a policy for the future?
(2)To recognize: to acknowledge the existence of.
2.When the Constitution…of a person.
Section 2 Article I of the Constitution of the United States stipulates “representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” This 3/5 of all other Persons meant Negro
3. Today another…fifty percent of a person.
(1)The idea is when the Constitution was written, the Negro was considered as only 60% of a person; but now he is even less, only 50% of a person. In other words, his status has deteriorated. (2) What makes Dr. King say so?
Dr. King gives a number of examples: “…half of all Negroes live in substandard housing.” “…Negroes have half the income of whites.” “There are twice as many unemployed.” “The rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites…”.
(3)substandard: below standard, specifically below a standard established as by law. 4….there are twice as many Negroes…in the population.
Considering the percentage of Negroes in the total population, the death rate of Negro soldiers in Vietnam doubled that of white soldiers. For example, according to the 1990 census, the Blacks made up 12.1 per cent of the population. So if the death toll in Vietnam was 10,000, only 1,210 should be black soldiers. But the figure was 2, 420, which was twice in proportion to their size in the population.
5. Negroes lag one to three years behind whites… The statement means, in terms of learning, the kind of knowledge which a white kid would master in Grade 3 would be grasped by a black kid sometime between Grade 4 and Grade 6.
6. One-twentieth …attend college.
The number of white college students is twenty times that of black students or for every black student in college there are twenty whites.
7. Menial jobs: jobs relating to unskilled, low-pay jobs, as in domestic work or laborer's work. 8. What role does Para. 3 play? It is a transitional Para. The 1st sentence “This is where we are” sums up the first two paragraphs, linking this paragraph with the previous ones. The second sentence, on this basis, raises the question “Where do we go from here?” The third sentence
starting with “first” begins to answer the question. The Para. is well organized and ideas develop logically.
9….we must massively…worth.
(1)massive: substantial; impressive; extensive
(2) to assert: to state clearly.
(3) We must state clearly and in an impressive way that we should be treated with respect and our value should be recognized.
10….and develop…of values.
(1) to develop: to make stronger or more effective; to build up
(2) unassailable: that cannot be successfully denied or contested
(3)majestic:very grand or dignified
(4) Why does the speaker use “unassailable” and “majestic” to modify “sense of values”?
The two adj.s stress one important point, that is, the Negroes should cultivate a confidence that they possess some valuable qualities which no one can deny and thus they should be given due respect.
11. The job of arousing…not easy.
(1) manhood: the state of being human
(2 )nobody: a person of no importance
(3)It is no easy job to educate a people who have been told over centuries that they were inferior and of no importance to see that they are humans, the same as any other people. 12.Even semantics…disregarding. 连语义学都合谋把一切凡有“黑”字的东西说成是丑的、卑
13.Roget’s Thesaurus was first compiled by Dr. Peter Mark Roget and published in 1852.
Successive improvements and enlargements were conducted by the author, his son and grandson. As a result of its scholarship and erudition, the Thesaurus has been appreciated by the public. 14. blot: a moral defect inn an otherwise good character; a disgraceful act or quality soot: a black substance considering chiefly of carbon particles formed by the incomplete combustion of burning matter.
grim: sinister/ foul: offensive to the senses; revolting; disgusting.
15. A white lie is better than a black lie.
(1)Does English have such phrases as “white lie” and “black lie”?
White lie is a set phrase, meaning a lie concerning a trivial matter, often on told to spare someone’s feelings. Black lie is coined by the speaker playing on the earlier mentioned definition
of black by Roget’s Thesaurus.
(2)A lie concerning a trivial matter used for good intention is certainly better than a sinister lie. 一
(3)The speaker skillfully turns a set phrase (white lie) into a comparison of color to illustrate his argument that the English language is not color blind.
16.The most degenerate…“black sheep”.
(1)Black sheep: a family member shunned because of disreputable behavior.
Degenerate: having sunk below a normal condition, character, etc.; morally corrupt (2)The person in a family of whom everyone else is ashamed is called a “black sheep”
Main idea: the African-American must “rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian
manhood”. That is to say, he/she must rid himself/herself of any inferiority complex. This is considered by Dr. King as the first task in the struggle for genuine freedom. 17. The tendency to ignore…the morning’s newspaper.
(1)personhood: the quality or condition of being an individual person.
(2)What is the tendency mentioned here?
The tendency is tow-fold: the first is not acknowledging that the Negroes have made great contributions to the development of the United States: in the War of Independence, in the Civil War, in WWII, in the development of science and technology, in education, arts and literature and architecture. The second is to spread and sustain the fallacy that the Negroes, as an ethnic group, are inferior to the Whites.
(3)What is meant by “to strip him of his personhood”?
It means to cultivate in him a sense of inferiority. It echoes the statements in Para.1: the Negro is only 60% of a person, according to the Constitution and 50% of a person nowadays. (4)Is the tendency an old one or a new one? It is both old and new. In the earliest history books you find this tendency. But you can also detect such a tendency today in the newspaper you read every day.
18.To upset…Olympian manhood.
(1)To upset: to overthrow or defeat, esp., unexpectedly. Homicide: any killing of one human being by anther. Please note the word formation: “homo” meaning a man; “cide” coming from “caedere”, meaning “to cut down”, kill, e.g. genocide, suicide, pesticide. Olympian: like an Olympian god;
(2)Why does the speaker compare the tendency to “cultural homicide”?
Cultural homicide here means the killing of the minds of an ethnic group by training, cultivation. If the Negro was subject to the fallacy, from childhood to adulthood, that he/she was born inferior, it would amount to conditioning him/her to a sense of inferiority. That is why the author considers this as cultural homicide.
(3)Paraphrase this sentence: in order to defeat the practice of conditioning the Negro’s mind to a
sense of inferiority, the Negro must stand upright and declare to the world that he is a Man, in the full sense of the word, 为了挫败这种蓄意培植的低人一等的心态？黑人必须直 起腰来宣布自
19.Any movement…waiting to be buried.
Why does the speaker say so?
If the Negro thinks that he/she is inferior to the white, then all the discrimination would become justifiable. How can he/she fight for freedom and equality? Only when the Negro is convinced that he/she is equal to all others in the world can he/she join the struggle for freedom and equality. Therefore, without the liberation of the mind, there can be no victory for the Negro’s struggle.
20.As long as…can never be free.
What is the rhetorical device used here?
Antithesis(对偶) is used here: mind vs. body, enslave
21.Psychological freedom …physical slavery. (antithesis,too)
(1)How could you paraphrase this statement?
If you break the mental shackles imposed on you by white supremacists, if you really respect yourself, thinking that you are a Man, equal to anyone else, you will be able to take part in the struggle against racial discrimination.
(2) the long night of physical slavery
This is a metaphor, comparing the long history of slavery to a long night. The word “night” is used here to indicate a period of darkness or gloom, a period of moral degeneration. A Chinese translation might be: 肉体奴役的漫漫黑夜
22.No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation…of freedom.
(1)Liberation of mind cannot be achieved by pure legal measures.
(2)The Emancipation Proclamation(1863) was Lincoln’s presidential order to free Negro slaves in the states in rebellion against the U.S. and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson are considered to be two very important acts in the Negro struggle for freedom. But these federal laws cannot solve the psychological problem, that is, the sense of inferiority. 23.The Negro…his own emancipation proclamation.
(1)How could you paraphrase this statement?
The liberation of mind can only be achieved by the Negro himself/herself. Only when he/she is fully convinced that he/she is a Man/Woman and is not inferior to anyone else, can he/she throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and become free.
(2)The idea is expressed with a metaphor, making the idea more vivid. The metaphor is “signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation”. The idea is the
same as the lines in the International:没有神仙和皇帝？全靠自己解放自己。
24. And, with a spirit…self-abnegation.
(1)to strain: to exert, use or tax to the utmost
Manacle: (usu. in plural) any restraint; fetter or shackle for the hand.
Self-abnegation: lack of consideration for oneself or one’s own interest; self-denial自我克制
25.I am somebody….to make me a slave.
(1)somebody: a person of importance; sinful: wicked, immoral.
(2) What shouldn’t the Negro be ashamed of and what should he be ashamed of, according to the author?
The Negro shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that his ancestors were slaves. In other words, being a slave is nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, those who willfully enslaved the black people were immoral and they should feel ashamed for them.
26….this self-affirmation…crimes against them.黑人需要这种自我肯定？而白人反对黑人的罪
27.What is the role of Para.6?
It introduces the second task. The introduction is indicated by “another basic challenge”.
28. How is the paragraph organized?
The first sentence is the topic Sen. Then the author points out that the Negro is in need of power which is followed by illustrations. After that, the author gives his definition of power, that is, the ability to achieve purpose. He ends the paragraph with a quotation from Walter Reuther which is used to reinforce his definition.
29.Stripped of the right…this white power structure.
30.Why does the speaker view the transformation of the ghetto as a problem of power?
Since the ghetto was created by those who had power to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness, these people would do their best to maintain the ghetto. Those
who had no power in the ghetto, that is, the Negro, wanted to change the situation. Therefore, whether the ghetto can be transformed or not depends on who prevails over whom, that is, whether the forces for change can prevail over the forces for status quo or not.
31.What is the speaker’s definition of “power”?
He defines power as “ability to achieve purpose” and “strength required to bring about social, political and economic change”.
32.What is the meaning of the example given by Walter Reuther?
The example is intended to show that when a trade union puts forward a demand, a most powerful corporation has to accept it however unwillingly, that is power. The example goes to illustrate the speaker’s definition.
33.Now a lot of us…problems with power.
What is the connection between “being preachers” and “having problems with power”? Preachers
are supposed to spread God’s teaching, that is, peace on earth and love. The common concept of
power is force, physical force. So these two things have been contrasted as polar opposites. That is why preachers have problems with power.
34.Does the speaker think this should be the case?
No, he thinks that the concepts of love and power should not be incompatible. 35.Why do people consider love and power incompatible?
This is a misinterpretation caused by some philosophers over history.
36.What is needed…and anemic.
37.Power at its best…against love.
At its best: in one’s best form.
Power in its best form of function is the carrying out of the demands of justice with love and justice in its best form of function is the overwhelming of everything standing in the way of love with power.
38.What is the consequence of misinterpreting the relation between love and power in the United States?It has led Negro Americans to think that they should achieve their goal through power without love.
39.Who are the extremists referred to by the speaker?
They may be those led by Malcolm X or members of the Black Panthers.
40.What do the extremists advocate?
They advocate the use of power, that is armed revolt, against the white power structure. Such use of violence, according to the speaker, is destructive and immoral. The Negro Americans rightly detest and hate the abuse of power of the White supremacists but now the extremists are advocating the use of the same kind of destructive power.
41.It is precisely this collision…of our times.正是这种邪恶的权力与毫无权力的道义的冲突构
42.Now, early in this century…and responsibility.
43.At that time…ability and talents.
At that time, the way to evaluate how capable and resourceful a person was was to see how much money he had made (or how wealthy he was).
44.And, in the thinking of that day…moral fiber.
And, the common view at that time was a person was poor because he was lazy and not hard-working and lacked a sense of right or wrong.
45.We’ve come a long way …economic system. 在对人的动机的理解？和对我们的经济体制的
46.Now we realize…against their will. 我们现在懂得？我们经济的市场运作混乱、歧视盛行？
What are the causes of unemployment, according to the speaker?
The causes are: the market operation is out of order and discrimination is widespread. 47.What was the prevalent view of the poor in the early 20th century?
What is the view in the 1960s?
The prevalent view was the poor people were lazy and devoid of moral strength, that is to say, they were inferior and incompetent. The speaker hopes this kind of view has diminished, has become less and less popular, so that people have become more sympathetic to the poor. He uses the phrase “I hope” because he is not so sure but he wishes this would be the case.
48.How can guaranteed annual income be achieved? It can be achieved by creating full employment or creating income so that everyone will become a consumer.
49.New forms of work…are not available.
50.The fact is…to secure a living.事实上？人们从事改善人类处境的工作？从事传播知识、增
51.It is not the work…necessity.
This kind of work (work mentioned in the previous sentence) cannot be done by slaves who work because the work has to be done, because they are forced to work by slave-drivers or because they need to work in order to be fed and clothed.
52.It is the work of men…want is abolished.
53.The poor transformed into purchasers…decay.
When the poor have money to buy worldly goods, they themselves will be able to do a lot to change the dilapidated state of their housing.
54.Negroes…in their struggle. What is the meaning of the sentence?
Negroes are in a two-fold disadvantage, that is, they are poor and black, but when they have money in their hands, they will have an additional weapon to fight more effectively against discrimination.
55…when the unjust …is eliminated.
1)…when the unfair practice of judging human value by the amount of money a person has is done away.
2) What is the metaphor used in the statement?
The metaphor is about measurement so “measurement” and “scale” are employed here, as if you could weigh value on a scale, and not an ordinary scale but a scale of dollars. 56.What are the advantages of having economic security?
The advantages are:1) the Negroes will have an additional weapon to fight discrimination;2) they will be able to solve many problems in education and housing by themselves; 3)the dignity of the individual will grow and 4)family conflicts will diminish.
57…if our nation can spend...here on earth.
1)How does the speaker describe the Vietnam war?
He considers the war as unjust and evil. This shows his stand. Originally, King didn’t get involved in the anti-war movement. He wanted to concentrate on the civil-rights movement. But later he came to realize he could not stay aloof to such an important issue. Hence this statement. 2)To put a man on the moon refers to the landing on the moon which was realized in July, 1969. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon and planted an American flag there. All this came after King’s speech and even after his death. But the plan had been going on for some time when King mentioned it.
3)…it can spend billions… on earth…它能够花费几十亿美元帮助上帝的孩子自立于这个世
4) to put…on their own feet: to put them in a healthy condition; to make them become financially independent.
58.The futility of violence…all the recent Negro riots.The riots which took place in 175 cities in 1965,1966 and 1967 tragically proved that you could not get equal treatment and put an end to racial discrimination by violence. Violence would only breed greater violence. 59.There is certainly sth painfully sad…a kind of suicidal longing.
1)What is the thing that Dr. King saw in the riots that made him feel sad?
The thing that Dr. King saw in the riots that saddened him was the angry Blacks were fighting in a desperate mood. They saw no future. They saw no solution. Rioting was an expression of their pent-up anger. It was an act of self-destruction. But this was what they wanted to do and seemed be all they could do. Such psychology is again shown in Gaza and other places when young Palestinians engaged in suicidal bombing. Again this is an act of deep frustration and desperation. 2) How does Dr. King describe the fighting in the riots?
He is very careful in the choice of words in the description. The people taking part in the riots were screaming youngsters and angry adults. Teenagers were more expressive and they were screaming while fighting. The adults were more mature, but their anger was actually stronger and deeper.
Their fighting, however, was hopeless and aimless. Hopelessness referred to the result, that is, violence would not and could not solve any problem. Aimlessness referred to the fact that the riots were not planned; they were spontaneous; the participants did not have any clear goal. Violence was just an expression of desperation. The other party in the riots was the establishment, the “impossible odds”. The implication was the white power structure was much more powerful and
much stronger. There was no way that the rioting Blacks could triumph over such power structure. “a desire for..suicidal longing” bring out the desperate mood of the participants.
60.Occasionally…effective civil rights action.
1)to contend: to argue; to strive in debate or controversy.
2)but those…end up with stumbling words…Those people cannot clearly show what they have gained as a result of the riots.
61.At best…of the ghettos.
1)at best: at most.
2)What, according to Dr. King, have the riots produced? The Blacks may have got a little more money for poverty relief and minor improvements in the ghettos.
4)…a few water-sprinklers…of the ghettos. 在街上增加一点喷水设施？使得贫民窟的孩子可以
62.It is sth. like behind bars.
1)What does Dr. King compare antipoverty money and the water-sprinklers to? He compares them to locking people up in prison while improving food in the prison. In other words, these measures are minor changes while the basic situation remains unchanged; these measures only deal with the surface of the issue, not the fundamental cause of it. 2)The comparison is a simile.
3)while the people…behind bars to incarcerate: to imprison/jail/shut up While the people are still shut up in prison.
63.Nowhere have the riots…protest demonstrations.
1)Such as: “such” modifies improvement and “as” introduces an attributive clause, at the same time “as” is the object to “have (won)” in the attributive clause. E.g.
We had hoped to give you a chance such as nobody else ever had.
2)The riots, wherever they have taken place, have not won the kind of improvement that organized non-violent struggles have won.
64.What are the two preconditions for a successful internal revolution, according to Dr. King? The two preconditions are:1) the armed forces are no longer loyal to the government;2) the revolution must have the support of the vast majority of the people. Two examples can be given. One is the downfall of the Suharto government in Indonesia. The other is the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
65.Does Dr. King think a minority Black revolution can succeed in the United States? No, he thinks that in a violent racial situation, the white power structure can rely on the local police, the state troopers, the National Guard and the army, all of which are mostly white. And such a revolution will have no support from the white majority and very little even from the majority of the Negro population.
66.Furthermore, few if any…the nonresistant majority. 除非主张暴力的少数人得到大多数人的
67. This is no time…for action.
68.What is needed …by the nonviolent movement.
What does Dr. King think is needed now?
He thinks that there should be a strategy for change and a pity to make the Blacks live peacefully and harmoniously with the whites as part of the mainstream American life. And only SCLC has so far offered such a program.
69.Without recognizing this…that don’t explain.
1)What does this refer to?
It may refer to the present need and the fact that only the nonviolent movement has offered a strategy and a program.
2)The speaker here employs two rhetorical devices: paradox and parallel structure.
Paradox is a statement that appears to be logically contradictory and yet may be true, the purpose of which is to provoke fresh thought.
70.What is the weapon most useful to the Negro in his struggle for racial justice, according to Dr. King?
The most potent weapon is nonviolence.
71.Why does the speaker say when one is concerned about these, he can never advocate violence? When one is concerned about justice, truth, brotherhood and a better world, he knows very well that these cannot be achieved by force, by violence. Brotherhood, a better world, etc. are concepts one would find in Christian teachings. Christian teachings oppose the use of violence. 72.Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.
What is the implication of these two sentences?
The implication is you cannot eliminate violence by violence. You have to use love. This leads to the main idea in the following paragraph.
73.And I say to you…to love.
Why do you think Dr. King expresses his view in this way?
Two words stand out clearly in this statement: “decide” and “stick”. In using “decide”, Dr. King
wants to show that he has thought over this issue once again and has once again made up his mind. To “stick” reveals that he has all along been following love, using love as the only weapon and he decides to continue to do so.
74.I know it isn’t popular…in some circles today.
Dr. King was referring to the break of the civil rights coalition. The SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and its new chairman Stokeley Carmichael advocated Black Power. 75.I’m not talking about…strong, demanding love.
Demanding: making difficult claim on one’s resources, patience, energy.
When I talk about love, I’m not talking about sentimental feelings, I am talking about a love which requires one’s resources, patience and energy.
76.And I’ve seen too much hate…to great a burden to bear.
The three sentences are parallel in form, with slight changes.
I’ve seen such intense and twisted hate on the faces of many white supremacists in the South that I do not want to hate any more. Whenever I see hate on their faces I know that hate has changed their appearances and their characters and I tell myself that hate is such a heavy weight on them that they will be crushed some day.
77.If you are seeking the highest good…If you are trying to find the highest virtue…
78.He who hates…ultimate reality.
1)Those who harbor hate in their hearts cannot grasp the teaching of God. Only those who have love can enjoy the ultimate happiness in Heaven.
2)The metaphor of owning a key to open a door is employed here.
3)The whole statement can be regarded as an epigram, that is a short, pithy statement, usually with a touch of wit, often antithetical.
4)This statement comes from John Chapter 3 of the New Testament.
79.What is the role of the first sentence of this Para.?
1)It is the topic sen. of this Para. The key idea of this Para. is “restructuring the whole of American society”. The following part explains why this should be the task.