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The Children Who Wait by Marsha Traugot
The Children Who Wait is an essay by Marsh Traugot. Marsha is a social reformer and she describes the condition of the foster house in the USA. She also suggests reasons for a new trend in adoption in America. Now a wider verity of families can open their house to children who in the past had been labeled unadoptable.
The essay begins with an example of five and a half years old, black, handicapped girl, Tammy. She is suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. Twenty years ago or until about 1960 the process of adoption was strict. A baby like Tammy was unadoptable and she was treated as waste material. But since the 1970s, she has also a market. She could be adopted. That is why a great departure in the field of adoption was seen in the 70s of the last century.
The field of adoption became very easy because of new technique, various civil rights movement, birth control, changing social values, legalized abortion and changes in views on sexual behaviour and marriage. Black civil right movement encouraged inter-racial adoption. The unwed mothers increased the number of adoptive infants. All these factors were responsible for the drastic change in the field of adoption. Due to lack of baby food, some interested families could not adopt children. As well as that, the black marketing of doctors also created scarcity of adoptable children. The attention inevitably shifted towards the children at foster houses.
Child welfare specialists were very worried about the growing children in foster houses. Earlier research had shown that children once sent to foster care for more than 18 months remain there until they grew up. This long stay led to dreadful results: children used to be the victims of mental and physical perversion. Of course, they could spoil their childhood, and their adult lives could be disturbed as well.
Funding was needed to improve the system but funding for children services had always been scarce because they did not cast their votes. The cost of keeping a child in foster house could run very high.
The conception of ideal adoptive family changed because the traditional family type has almost disappeared. A social worker makes the list of characteristics and looks for a good match. But for this, the social worker must change his attitude. He should believe firmly that even a disturbed or multiple handicapped child is adoptable. The worker should be flexible in his attitude towards a family of different socio-economic group. The specialists have started values clarification workshops for placements. Workers and their supervisors must be trained.
Adoption agencies find a potential family step-by-step. The process of matching is taken very seriously. The adoption agencies keep the list of families living in their periphery. Efforts are made to find a home from among the listed families, but if it fails then the adoption agencies refer the child to the State Adoption Exchange which gives information about the concerned child to other agencies. Monthly meetings and informal meetings are held for matching families. If they cannot find a matching family through any of the means they apply, the child welfare organisation and adoption exchange advertise through media, TV and the newspaper.
For example – Tammy is on search for an adoptive family. Because of the changes in attitudes in different aspects as well as in the field of adoption many children have got the supportive families and writer also hopes that Tammy will also get a warm supportive family life in the near future.
According to Traugot, what changes are transforming the American adoption scene? What factors are responsible for the changes?
Traugot wrote this essay in the 1970s. This decade saw transformation in the adoption of children, especially the possibility of integrating those from black, minority and mixed racial background into a wide variety of homes that became possible because of the disappearance of the traditional middle-class, home-owning, two-parent, one-career families in America.
Until the 70s, only the upper class white childless couples adopted healthy white infants, but they did not adopt handicapped, black or mixed/minority, and older children. However, the late 70s marked a heartening change in the children adoption scene. The factors that contributed primarily for this transformation were the various civil rights movements, birth control, changing social values, harsh economic reality and research in social science.
Who are the children who wait and why do they wait?
The children who wait are children waiting in foster homes to find ideal prospective parents. They are mostly homeless children who come predominantly from black, mixed or minority background. Some of them could be orphans and some others could be living in foster homes because of familial problems, away from their biological parent(s). Whatever their background, these children are waiting for adoptive parents who could give them lot of love, affection, security and support. Traugot’s introduction of Tammy in the first paragraph draws the thesis of the essay, and readers instantly realize the possibility of Tammy’s adoption into a permanent home should a family with a kind heart appear to take her their home. She has been legally freed for adoption, so her profile has been advertised in a newspaper. Tammy is a representative of homeless and parentless children who come from diverse cultural background, have handicaps, have varying temperament and personalities.
Describe the procedure of finding prospective adoptive parents/Why is Tammy advertised in the Boston Globe?
The Children Who Wait by Marsha Traugot discusses the adoption system and problems in child adoption in America in the twentieth century. In this essay there are various stakeholders: the children waiting for adoption, the families to adopt them, the agencies to look after and help find children suitable adoptive family.
The first step is at the adoption agency. An adoption agency in one particular location has a list of families who wish to adopt children. If any one of the families wants to have a child than they could have it, but if it doesn’t materialize, the next step is at the regional or state adoption exchange, where the unadopted child is registered. The exchange distributes the photo and description of the child to all other agencies. Some of these exchanges hold monthly meetings where placement workers discuss children or families, and they also sponsor parties where children, workers and prospective parents meet informally. If the exchange also doesn’t succeed in finding a permanent home for a child, then it along with other child welfare organizations go for aggressive media advertisement where the profiles of the waiting child is either printed in newspapers like the Boston Globe or a video shown on TV. It is hoped that the waiting child can eventually get a caring and loving family.
Describe Tammy and her problems.
Tammy is a five and half-year old child who has the smile of Mona Lisa and the cuteness of a kitten. She is petite (very small) with brown eyes, and has dark, curly hair. Her complexion is light brown. However, behind this outward veneer is a girl who is suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome, and whose intellectual growth could stop at any time. Also, she is a lot older for adoption and not a white child – she is black. She has passed through the procedures set by the adoption agency and the regional or state exchange but has found no compassionate family to take her. That is why her profile has been advertised in the “Sunday Child” section of the Boston Globe for the potential family, who could adopt and give her warmth, love and support.
Comment on the influence of the Black Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement in helping reform the adoption practices in America.
The Black Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement had far-reaching and transformative effect on the adoption practices in America. The first movement helped in making America a more integrated and discrimination-free society. It helped to change the formerly vindictive attitude of the Whites against the Afro-Americans. In the changed American society, the liberal whites gathered the black and mixed-race infants and toddlers into their families. As well as that, the Blacks started to enjoy the riches of justice and decency.
The second movement, i.e. the Women’s Movement, gave women the reproductive rights. There was the easy availability of birth control methods to them. Also, abortion was legalized. There was also a changed attitude toward sexual behaviour and marriage. Women didn’t have to get married to have sex. Even unwed mothers faced less societal stigma: they reared their child and were supported by their family members. Women’s rights advocates pointed out that a mature single woman could care for a child as well as two-parents could. All these changes reduced the birth of unwanted babies, and thereby children who could find a passage to foster homes. Thus, the two movements had a positive impact on adoption.
What is “fetal alcohol syndrome”? What is a “buzz word”?
Fetal alcohol syndrome refers to a condition in new-born babies caused by excessive intake of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy: characterized by various defects including mental retardation.
Buzz word refers to a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, field of study, popular culture, etc. The buzz word in the adoption scene in the 1970s was matching.
What is “matching” and how is it done? Provide examples of matching in the text.
Matching here refers to bringing two objects, ideas, or people together. Matching was a buzz word used in the American adoption practices in the 1970s. The social workers who worked at finding suitable adoptive parents for the homeless and parentless children living in foster homes first assessed the child’s characteristics, which involved getting information about the child’s personality, cultural background, existing relationship with biological or foster family, and emotional state. Based on these factors, the worker would draw up a profile of an appropriate family.
The first example that Traugot cites is of a 15-year old boy who had a bad history of
disrupted placements, did badly in academics and fought a lot. The appropriate family for this boy is a single male family, who could give him the latitude to be free but also circumscribe him when need be. Similarly, an 11-year old boy with Down’s Syndrome, a weak heart and hearing disability could be accepted by a deeply religious, working class family having older children. The child welfare specialists were really very optimistic and hopeful of the children finding permanent homes for these kinds of almost unadoptable children.
Write an essay on ” the rising cases of divorces”. Spot the trend in divorce and trace the causes of the change.
Raj Kumar Gautam, Arniko College, Biratnagar, firstname.lastname@example.org, September 13, 2013
Interview with Sulo Shrestha-Shah, Lotus Holdings
A successful businesswoman boosts business exports in Nepal by starting an investment company built on the principle of corporate social responsibility.
Lotus Holdings is an investment company and business incubator that has already helped to establish five manufacturing companies and six other companies in information technology (IT) and other service areas.
How it all began
Sulo Shrestha-Shah, president and founder of Lotus Holdings, began trading in carpets and textiles in 1991. As she had a German designer as business partner, she exported to Germany from the outset. She set up her own manufacturing company, Formation Carpets, when it became difficult to find high-quality goods.
Ms Shrestha-Shah’s experiences as a businesswoman in a man’s world, and the obstacles that she identified as hampering development in her native Nepal, shaped her vision in setting up Lotus Holdings. “It was the realization that I needed to look beyond myself which led to investing in other companies and sharing the market,” she explains.
Ms Shrestha-Shah says that although there are some women entrepreneurs currently exporting from Nepal, most women are unable to engage in business activities because their families prevent them from working.
Apart from the cultural resistance to women working outside the home, she sees the laws governing property rights as the main problem for would-be women entrepreneurs, since only males can inherit property in Nepal. If this were not the case, she is convinced that more Nepalese women would become entrepreneurs.
Blocks to export competitiveness
Although some barriers are specific to women, other obstacles to competitiveness are gender neutral. Ms Shrestha-Shah identifies skill shortages as a major difficulty for Nepalese companies, as 50% of the country’s population is illiterate.
Another problem is obtaining finance, since banks are unwilling to issue loans against companies, as is the practice in many countries.
Investments for success
Lotus Holdings and its affiliates believe that research and development activities are the only path to success in exports. After it was set up in 1998, Lotus Holdings began to research markets, such as France, Italy and the United States of America, with help from the Nepalese Government and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
It plans to accelerate its current development rate by investing in companies in areas identified as productive and in need of assistance. It helps its members to export efficiently by providing advice and information on shipments and legal requirements.
To address the skills shortage problem, Lotus Holdings and its affiliates have introduced educational programmes for staff and their children. They have also invested in technology that they feel has the potential to increase exports.
Lotus Holdings has a strong philosophy of corporate social responsibility, and will only invest in companies that believe in ethical business, treat their employees fairly and invest in education. It has founded a non-governmental organization, Hoste Hainse, to focus on social issues. All companies within the group operate an equal rights policy, always employing the best person for the job. Ms Shrestha-Shah feels that the business community as a whole would have a better image if it focused more on corporate social responsibility.
Company: Lotus Holdings
Sector: Manufacturing, trading, investment management, services
Employees: Over 400, of whom 20 are in the head office at Kathmandu
Yearly turnover: US$ 427,000
Export sales as % of total turnover: 50%
Current export markets: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, United States of America
Advice to other women entrepreneurs: “Make your presence felt, and break down barriers. This is difficult, even for educated women, but necessary if women are to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the business community.”
Mary Treacy, Trade Forum contributing editor, conducted this interview.
For more information about Lotus Holdings, contact email@example.com
Women’s Business by Ilene Kantrov
This essay is about some women from the United States of America who have been successful in business. The women were not just businesswomen, however. They did things to make people better educated on the issues and problems facing women. They also did things to help other people. However, their interest in making money was usually more important than their interest in improving society. Many of the women used advertisements which were incorrect. For example, Lydia Pinkham, who was in favour of stopping people from drinking alcohol, sold a product that was, itself, as alcoholic as whiskey or raksi.
The women mentioned are:
Lydia E. Pinkham (the image of Grandmother): In 1879 Lydia Pinkham was selling a medicine that she had invented herself. It was called Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. Her advertisements claimed this medicine could cure many different difficulties faced by women.
Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden (glamorous socialite): These two women were rivals. They sold make-up. They were also married to rich and famous men (aristocrats) from Europe.
Margaret Rudkin (Grandmother): She began to sell additive-free whole wheat bread food that she first used to help her asthmatic son.
Jennie Grossinger (Grandmother): She owned a successful resort hotel
Gertrude Muller: She sold things to help people look after their babies. She put small books explaining her ideas in the packages of the things she sold.
Annie Turnbo-Malone (Social activist): She was a black American. She sold a chemical that claimed to make hair look nice. She also began a school known as Poro College to train people how to use her products. She said this school was for the improvement of black people.
Which of Lydia Pinkham’s business methods did later women capitalists adopt for their own enterprises? In what ways did they depart from Pinkham’s model?
Like Lydia Pinkham, the other capitalists sold their products and wanted to show their customers they were doing activities to raise their social and economic life. Most of the customers were mostly women. Lydia Pinkham’s methods were practical. For example, she used her advertisements to champion women’s rights, temperance, and fiscal reform. She also encouraged women to seek guidance from women physicians and gave practical suggestions about diet, exercise and hygiene. Similarly, Arden sold make-up products but also gave advice on nutrition and exercise at her salons. Helena Rubenstein also did the same: she sold cosmetics like Arden but she also expounded the benefits of eating raw food. Thus, these two women like Lydia thought they were providing other women with something more than a product. Most capitalists also used their image cleverly in their marketing activities. Jennie Grossinger, like Lydia, managed to remain the ‘grandmother’ in the eyes of her clients. Her hotel business was very successful. Another woman, Margaret Rudkin built a successful career in food industry by making additive free wheat bread to supplement her husband’s income much like Lydia did when she started making herbal preparations to supplement her husband’s real estate business.
However, Lydia unlike Arden and Rubenstein did not put on a glamorous outlook. She did not marry any aristocrat(s). Rubenstein and Arden, on the other hand, developed their image of glamorous fashionable women. Lydia, through her product and clever marketing campaign became a pioneer woman in the history of American business. She claimed herself to be the “Saviour of her sex”, which was extraordinary as other women like Grossinger, Annie Turnbo-Malone and Helena Rubinstein were philanthropic and showed more concern to women cause than did Pinkham. Pinkham sold alcohol while she was the advocating against alcohol use. Thus, Pinkham combined marketing with socio-economic transformation in the most successful manner of all female entrepreneurs. However, there are more similarities among these entrepreneurs than there are differences.
How did the businesswomen the writer introduces in her essay differ from their male counterparts? In what ways did they resemble male entrepreneurs of their day?
Women differed in many ways from their male counterparts in many ways. The first difference was in their approach: the male contemporaries were more motivated by profit and their business had no room for social service, whereas women cleverly complimented profit motive with service motive. Women like Lydia E. Pinkham, Helena Rubinstein, Jennie Grossinger and Annie Turnbo-Malone were exemplary in their social drive. Similarly, women capitalists did businesses that catered to female tastes, and these businesses grew out of traditional women skills. Thirdly, women entrepreneurs cultivated a certain image in order to advance their businesses and establish their position among fellow women. Thus, Lydia Pinkham, Margaret Rudkin and Jennie Grossinger acted like grandmothers in their respective businesses. Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden created an image of glamorous socialites, and Turnbo-Malone that of social activist. Thus, women entrepreneurs had two roles in the society. One was business women and the other was mothers or grandmothers or fashionable women. However, there were many similarities of these women entrepreneurs to those of the male counterparts.
Although women entrepreneurs aimed to serve as well as sell, however, these businesswomen frequently put profit ahead of altruism, and like male counterparts they made extravagant and misleading advertisement claims about their products and services that regulating bodies like FDA and FTC had to intervene or take stern actions against them. Rubinstein was forced to withdraw some medical claims she made for her products. Also their feminine ideals they loved so often did not go very well with the realities of the marketplace, where they acted as businesswoman, not as ladies.
What is the thesis/main idea of the essay?
The thesis of the story is that business women in the USA tried to help women, as well as make money by selling things to them. Often, their methods of helping women, for example, through advice, helped them sell more products. They combined clever marketing effort with strong social activism.
Women’s business presents a main idea that business women were much successful in America. They are much popular too. Their production and business benefited many people in different ways. Business women were involved in producing some useful things to women like cosmetics. They produced not only useful things to women but they also suggested and helped to cure womanly problems like nervousness, hysteria, barrenness, and so on. In America business women like Lydia E. Pinkham, Elizabeth, and Jennie Grossinger were very much successful and they earned a lot of money by selling their products by means of advertisements, suggestion and inspiration. So, in conclusion, the essay Women’s Business expresses that women can do as good a business as men can, and they can get success in business with the help of media and their own ingenuity. tools. (From an ex-student)
How would you expect a militant feminist to react to this essay? Are any of the writer’s general statements debatable?
A militant woman is someone who shows a fighting disposition without self-seeking. She would express great satisfaction at the way the women entrepreneurs of America combined social activism into their marketing effort. She would support their innovative marketing techniques to make profit but she probably wouldn’t like extreme claims like the ones made by Lydia E Pinkham, who made extraordinary claims of Vegetable Compound of being “the greatest remedy in the world.” She would appreciate the effort of Lydia Pinkham and Margaret Rudkin who started their businesses as a support to complement or support their husbands’ income. She would be inspired by their effort to market their homely skills to great profit in the marketplace. She would support social marketing efforts like temperance and fiscal reform as well as advice on nutrition, exercise, hygiene, thriftiness, and diet, however, she would hate marketing techniques like the Department of Advice that encouraged women to seek medical attention from female physicians only. She would consider this as a sign of weakness, and an impediment to greater goal of female independence from psychologically imposed barrier. Likewise, she wouldn’t appreciate Elizabeth Arden’s facial treatment system that used painful procedure to get glowing feminine skin. She would be happy with the skin she has got, and not bother to get an extraordinary one to show it to a male. She would find it all right to create a certain image to further her business. She would praise Turnbo-Malone’s effort to uplift black women’s life and to make them economically independent so as to create a discrimination-free society, but she wouldn’t like the publicity stunts of Elizabeth and Helena who drew attention to themselves through their marriages to European aristocrats. She would marry a man who understands her rather than looking for a man from an aristocratic background. Finally, she would like women to go beyond the businesses they are good at traditionally and make foray into all kinds of businesses, especially those that have been traditionally male’s territory.
What was Lydia Pinkham’s cleverest marketing technique?
Lydia set up the Department of Advice, and then encouraged women to bypass male physicians and seek guidance from woman. She also gave practical advice on diet, exercise and hygiene. She endorsed her herbal medicine too.
What does the writer’s use of the slang word booze contribute to the essay’s conclusion?
Booze refers to any alcoholic beverage, like whiskey, and this word is used in informal setting. Also, this word is popular slang word used very often by alcoholics. Even, (non-) drinkers refer to people who consume alcohol boozer. Traugot’s essay is based on social science research, and she has included real facts, statistics and case studies. Her reference to Lydia Pinkham in the start of the essay serves to provide a serious purposeful tone, and as we read through the pages we learn more about Lydia – how she started a business with her brother and how she made $200,000 by 1881. Lydia E. Pinkham’s advertised and sold her herbal product, Vegetable Compound very aggressively. She became a folk heroine: the subject of popular songs, jokes, and bawdy jokes.
Marsha Traugot is trying to take us back to that time and stir some memory of her time by referring to the same product as booze. Indeed, Lydia had added 40 proof alcohol to her home-made untested product. By giving this fact, Kantrov also succeeds in telling the readers the marketing adaptability of women entrepreneurs and dissolve the ladylike quality much associated with women. Kantrov may be trying to lighten the mood of the essay. She wants to end the essay on a comic note so the tone is comic and satiric. Also, because she started with Lydia in the beginning, she wanted to end with her. Thus, the organic unity is maintained. In the first part Lydia’s clever marketing innovations and her success are mentioned, but, at the end, we see the scheming and profit-driven businesswoman.
Raj Kumar Gautam, Araniko HSS, Biratnagar – 13, firstname.lastname@example.org; September 13, 2013
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Junior
This essay is a speech made by Martin Luther King Junior to a large crowd 100 years -1863-
after the slaves in the USA were freed. Martin Luther King says the Constitution of the USA promises that all men will be free, but the Negros (Black-Americans) are not free and do not have equal rights with the Whites. He says the Negroes are asking for freedom and equal rights but they must ask without using violence. Martin Luther King says that he has a dream that one day the Negroes will be free and will have equality. He has a dream that people will decide whether his children are good or bad because of their actions (character) and not because they are black. He hopes that, one day, all people will be able to join hands and sing that they are free.
Historical and Cultural Background
From about the year 1600 AD the White people in North America bought Negroes (Black Americans) from Africa to be slaves. A slave is owned by the white farmer. The slave cannot leave the farm and must work without being paid.
In 1787 the Constitution of the USA stated that all men are created equal, and that all men have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But these rules were not for the Negro slaves. They were not allowed to live like the white people and they were not free.
In 1862, President Lincoln made the Emancipation Declaration. This said that all slaves were free. They could leave the farms where they had been slaves and must be paid for work they did.
However, the Negroes were still not treated equally. In many states in the southern part of the USA black children were not allowed to go to the same school as white children, and black people were not allowed into the hotels, restaurants and buses that white people used. This was called SEGREGATION and it still existed at the time Martin Luther King made his speech in 1963.
Many Negroes were also poor. They lived in very bad quality houses in special areas called ghettos – where white people did not live. They were treated very badly by white people and it was difficult for them to get good jobs or to get a good education.
Paraphrase of the main things said by Martin Luther King
One hundred years ago, President Lincoln declared that the slaves in the USA were free, but the Negroes in America are still not free. Negroes are not allowed to go to the same places as white people and Negroes are still very poor.
The Constitution of the USA promises that all men have the right to live freely and to try to be happy. The Constitution was a written promise, like a check from a bank which promises to pay money. America has not kept its promise to Negroes. We (the 200,000 people in the crowd) have come to Washington, the capital of the USA, to say that the promises made in the constitution should be met now. America will not operate normally until these demands are met.
It is important to make these demands without using violence. It is also important not to distrust all white people, because there are some whites who support the Negroes, and who are helping them get equal rights.
We want the police to stop beating Negroes. We want Negroes to be able to stay in every hotel in the country. We want Negroes to be able to improve their position in society, to be able to vote and to have Negroes to vote for.
You must go back to your homes and work for change.
I have a dream that one day all people will be treated equally, that Negroes and whites will sit together like brothers and that everyone will be free. I have a dream that my children will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their actions.
If America is to be a great country, all people in all the different places must be free. All people, of all colours and religions must be able to join hands and sing together, “We are free at last!”
What is the apparent purpose of this speech?
Martin Luther King wanted to show the prevailing discrimination against the blacks and how this racial injustice must come to an end. He also wants the Blacks to be given freedom and equality as promised by the constitution of America.
What thesis does King develop in his first four paragraphs?
(a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved)
King started his speech by announcing that the Emancipation Proclamation had brought great hope to million of Negro slaves who had been suffering from racial injustice. They had hoped that their life of captivity would be over. Contrary to this high hope, the Negroes have been crippled by chains of separation and discrimination. They are living a life of poverty although their white counterparts live a rich life. They are neglected and they feel they are in exile in their own land. In the third paragraph, Luther mentions that the Negroes haven’t received rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It’s only the Whites who enjoy these rights. In the final paragraph, King calls upon the Negroes to cash their cheque of equality and justice. Also he urges the Blacks not to cool off or opt for a gradual change as it would postpone the opportunity to lift America out of the quicksand of racial injustice.
What does King mean by the “marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community? (paragraph 6)? Does this contradict King’s non-violent philosophy?
Militancy has many meanings. The meaning implied here is that of strength of purpose and determination. The Negroes have woken up to fight for their rights but King urges them to struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. He alerts the crowd to fight physical violence with soul force. He advocates for creative protest rather than using physical violence. He doesn’t want the Blacks to show any bitterness or hatred towards the Whites or against the police. Hence, King’s use of militancy is the one favouring the use of strong moral pressure to achieve the aims of getting justice.
In what passages of his speech does King notice events of History? Where does he acknowledge the historic occasion on which he is speaking?
King in his very first utterance mentions President Lincoln who in 1862 had declared freedom for the slaves when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In the third paragraph too, King mentions the magnificent words written in the constitution of America and in the Declaration of Independence, which guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Explain King’s analogy of the bad check (paragraphs 3 and 4).
A promissory note is a signed document containing a written promise to pay a stated sum to specified person or the bearer at a specified date or on demand. The one who goes to the bank can cash the cheque. However, insufficient funds in the bank mean the cheque is not cashed. The cheque becomes a bad cheque. In the same way, the architects of America had promised to give each American the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution of the USA (1787) is an open check that has promised to provide every Americans these rights. But America has denied (not paid) its black population these rights. Thus, the Blacks are demanding the good cheque of justice, freedom and citizenship rights.
How much emphasis does King place on the past? On the future?
King’s introductory paragraph starts in the past tense wherein he talks of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation that guaranteed freedom to the slaves. In the second paragraph too he mentions the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. But in the rest of the paragraph he has used language of the present and future. His sentences abound in the pains and sufferings braved by the Blacks for most of History. He dedicates the parallel language structure beginning with Now to prove the importance of present. Because it is a speech he emphasises the current status of Black Movement and the ways to achieve complete freedom. King was not keen to open the wounds of the past so he uses positive language of hope. Another parallel structure King uses – ” I have a dream…..” – clearly hints at King’s dream about the better future for Black Americans. The use of ‘will’ clearly indicates about the hope for the end of racial injustice, the beginning of freedom, and the attainment of the spirit of brotherhood. Even the imperative parallel structure “Let freedom ring…….” cry for a day when freedom will ring from all parts of America, and people practicing various religion will become God’s children. Indeed, the very title supports a future for the Blacks where hope and faith will triumph over despair and discord.
Comment on the language used in the speech?
Martin Luther King Jr demonstrates superior command of language that is evocative and inspirational at the same time. King meshed the cadence of a Baptist preacher with the credence of a man who was well-versed not only in the history of African-Americans in the United States, but America itself. From the very beginning to the end, Martin Luther King used powerful, evocative language to draw emotional connection to his audience, such as:“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”; “This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”; “We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities”
The use of similes, metaphors, analogies and parallel structures abound throughout the text. Some of the metaphors are the crippling of the blacks ‘ by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination,’; the negroes faith that will be able to ‘ hew out a mountain of despair a stone of hope’; and the desire to transform America ‘ into an oasis of freedom and justice.’ Other metaphors are: “joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity”;“the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity”;“rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice”; “This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.” These metaphors allow us to associate our speech concepts with concrete images and emotions. He then relates to the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln as a ‘ great beacon light of hope to millions of negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.’ Mention to justice rolling like water and righteousness like a mighty stream are other fine examples of simile that catches the abstract ideals in a very concrete manner.
The uses of analogies is worth mentioning, particularly the analogy of the bad check. The Constitution of the USA promised that all men have the right to live freely and to try to be happy. The Constitution was a written promise, like a check from a bank which promises to pay money. America did not keep its promise to Negroes. Thus, they (the over 200,000 people in the crowd) marched on to Washington, the capital of the USA, to say that the promises made in the constitution should be met now, and that America would not operate normally until these demands were met. Likewise, the mention to transforming ‘ the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood,’ catches the spirit of all the people of America from various racial backgrounds coming together to create a prosperous America.
If that was not sufficient, the use of parallel structures provide a hypnotic impact on the people who listened to him talk about the finest human ideals like justice, freedom, democracy, righteousness, brotherhood, equality, etc. The parallel structure: Now is the time ……..’ catches the existing problems in America which have come about because of the dishonoring of the ‘legitimate discontent’ of the Negroes. Similarly, ‘ I have a dream ……………’ apprise us with the hopes and dreams of the Black Americans who are ever so optimistic and patient in spite of several obstacles on their way.
The repetition of the ‘theme’ words throughout the body of the speech makes it memorable and convincing. The repetition of some words brings to the fore the emergence of some very interesting patterns. The most commonly used noun is freedom, which is used twenty times in the speech. This makes sense, since freedom is one of the primary themes of the speech. The other key ‘theme’ repeated words include,we (30 times), our (17 times), you (8 times),nation (10 times), America (5 times), American (4 times), justice (8 times) and injustice (3 times) and, dream (11 times).
King has explicitly and implicitly drawn on numerous Biblical allusions to provide the moral basis for his arguments:“It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.” [paragraph 2] alludes to Psalms 30:5; “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” [paragraph 8] evokes Jeremiah 2:13; No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.Amos 5:24 “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”; I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.Isaiah 40:4-5; And when this happens, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The references made to the US documents like The Constitution of the USA (1787); The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) on the one hand and to God and divine providence on the other hand bring out the essential goodness of language borne out of the marriage of the real historical developments with the spiritual precepts. In his booming voice, we can feel and hear the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, the Bible and the Negro spiritual. He speaks from a high plane of morality, and the language is unbiased and neutral with none of the elements of propaganda and politicking that peppers a demagogue’s speech. He raises ethical questions that have meaning and scope beyond his time and age. The rhetoric question he asks: “When will you be satisfied?” is answered with great clarity and earnestness of purpose.
Thus the use of the concrete examples of comparison to exemplify abstract quests of the Black Americans and his oratorical powers honed out of his many preaching and personal struggles for the cause of the Blacks and their rights have added peculiar charm, energy and posterity to this speech.
What is the dream of Martin Luther King?
Martin Luther King’s dream is deeply rooted in the American dream. He dreams of the Blacks receiving justice, freedom, equality, and brotherhood. He dreams of a time when the sons of former slaves owners and the sons of former slaves will sit down together at the table of brotherhood; he dreams of transforming the states where injustice and oppression prevail into an oasis of freedom and justice. Furthermore, he hopes of a time in the future where black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. And then, he believes that Black American children henceforth will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Finally, he is keenly waiting for the day when all the people of America will be blessed by the glory of God.
What is the historical significance of the speech?
Martin Luther King Jr made this historic speech hundred years after Abraham Lincoln had declared the Blacks legally free through the decree known as Emancipation Proclamation that swung into action in 1863. The Blacks were filled with hope and joy, and expected the end of segregation and discrimination. They also expected to come out poverty and walk into the world of material prosperity, and become a vibrant American community like their white counterparts’ but much to their surprise and shock their condition improved little and they still had to languish in the margins of the American society and face discrimination and ill treatment in the very country they gave their blood and sweat. They were denied access to the unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness made available by the Constitution of the USA and the Declaration of Independence. They were also wrongly made the victims of the government’s double standards because they could not enjoy real democracy; get opportunity as decreed by God; come out of the quicksand of injustice; and not feel the rock solid power of brotherhood.
What is Martin Luther King Jr’s method of militancy?
Martin Luther King was a great adherent of the principles of non violence and peaceful rebellion. He was inspired by the acts of Great Mahatma Gandhi who single handedly freed India from the British rule through the employment of non-violent techniques and methods. King followed the same route. In his speech he reminds the people not to try to get justice through wrong deeds. He suggests that the people should not demand for freedom by being bitter and hateful towards the Whites. He tells them to conduct struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. He further reminds them not to degenerate their creative protest into physical violence. Rather they should meet physical force with soul force. The people should work and walk with fellow whites who have solidarity with them. Their struggle should not cause any distrust among the Whites because the fate of the Blacks is tied up with the fate of the Whites. He suggests that they should not lose hope until they get justice and equal rights.
Some famous MKL Quotes
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hates destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
A right delayed is a right denied
Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.
We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Non violence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Raj Kumar Gautam, Arniko HSS; 02 September 2013.