Rhetorical devices

Allusion and direct references

In his “We Shall Overcome” speech, Lyndon B. Johnson makes several allusions and direct references meant to make his message more powerful. For example, Johnson alludes to the American Civil War when he talks about the “battleground of violence”. Moreover, he makes references to the battles of Lexington, Concord, and Appomattox, each of which he considers “a turning point in man's unending search for freedom”. 

Johnson also makes a Biblical reference in the following example: “For with a country as with a person, ‘What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ ”. Here, Johnson refers to Matthew 16:26, a Biblical verse that he uses to show that Americans must treat achieving racial equality as their first priority. 

In the following example, Johnson makes references to the US Declaration of Independence, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a speech by Patrick Henry: 

The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: ‘All men are created equal,’ ‘government by consent of the governed,’ ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories.

In this ...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in