• This speech was delivered in 1978 by Harvey Milk (1930-1978), american LGBT rights activist before politician of the Democratic Party.
• As the title of the speech says, Milk’s aim is to lead to and encourage young LGBT people to have hope for a better tomorrow.• Doing this, he uses many rhetorical strategies, that provide for a better argument as well as persuasion.
Lexical choice• The use of lexis is thought to persuade and to invite the audience to pay attention to the theme of civil rights in the US and figthing for homosexuals.
Word frequency and semantic fields• Politics and Law (political, people, rights, movement, nation)• Human belonging (person, gay, homosexuals)• Media (radio, newspapers, television/TV)• Sociology (minorities, criminals, community)• Hope
Social emotional style• What Milk says appeals to the audience emotions. By doing this, he makes the audience feel as if they are a part of it all by using the words, “us’es”, “we” and “you”.• Milk appeals to positive emotions (first of all, hope). He uses also emotional words by saying “you have to give them hope”, which makes people feel as if they can make a small of big difference to someone’s life.• He says also the following phrases in his speech: “and you’ve got to”, “hope for a better”, “stay and fight”, that makes people feel obliged in a positive way to do something about the issue.
Structure of Milk’s speech• 1- Milk’s presentation• 2-4 Recent discriminations of the authorities against homosexuals• 5-7 Lies told by the media about the LGBT movement in the 70s• 8-9 Anti-apartheid and discrimination in South Africa• 10-13 Myths against homosexuals can be dispelled by electing gay leaders• 14-15 Importance of find again hope for a better future• 16 LGBT election and people responsability in relaunching hope
Milk Claptraps• References to hope and to LGBT people who have lost it• References to the oppressive regime of South Africa• Talking about the necessity of political participation of homosexuals• Thanking the audience at the end of the speech
The use of ‘three’• “The Spanish community must not be judged by Latin criminals or myths. The Asian community must not be judged by Asian criminals or myths. The Italian community must not be judged by the mafia, myths”.• “And you and you and you, you have to give people hope”.
Pronouns• The use of the pronouns «us», «we» and «you» makes the audience feel they are the real addressees of the speech.
Antithesis• “Its up to CDC to put the pressures on Sacramento - but to break down the walls and the barriers so the movement to the left continues and progress continues in the nation”.• “Today, the black community is not judged by its friends, but by its black legislators and leaders”.
Final annotations• Milk speaks the audience’s language by using metaphors and exaggerations.• Most people would assume that the audience would be homosexual, but his speech means that everyone, all of us can make a difference, that is the main message he was trying to bring across in his speech.• The speech, whose main point is at the end, is driven by a main theme of fighting for homosexuals.• The diction used is concrete and euphonious. It seems that Milk wrote the speech with absolute certainty in himself and what he was fighting for.• As regards the synthax, various sentence lengths have been used, showing that Milk really believed in what he was speaking about.