Analysis Of Donovan Livingston's Use Of Figurative Language

Education is often regarded as the single most important component for success. It is hailed as the key to a brighter future and a pathway towards a stable life. However, some argue that the American education system is too flawed to help scholars to excel and break through the country’s stark injustices. In his speech “Lift Off,” Donovan Livingston discusses the implications of a poor education on students that face inequality and encourages teachers to use education as a tool to help students face their problems. Through the use of figurative language such as metaphor, anaphora, and antithesis, Donovan Livingston conveys the idea that educators should focus on bringing the potential out of every student and help them rise above the inequalities they face instead of confining them to the limiting standards of a curriculum.

Firstly, Donovan Livingston describes that problems that scholars face and the opportunities that education can bring using metaphor. For example, he says “rather than raising your voices over the rustling of our chains, take them off. Un-cuff us.” This metaphor compares students’ struggles with inequality to chains. It urges teachers to use education to lift students up instead of punishing or ignoring them. The metaphor strengthens the speech by making the description of students’ more lively. It makes the message to educators more memorable and effective. The speaker also uses metaphor to describe how education can be a pathway to success. He says “our stories are ladders that make it easier for us to touch the stars. So climb and grab them.” This encourages students to use the experiences they gained from the injustices they face as a propellant towards their own success. This enhances the speech by describing how overcoming tribulations with the help of education can build a student’s character and help them excel. Donovan Livingston then uses metaphor to state his goals as a teacher. He says “Are we not astronomers- looking for the next shooting star? I teach in hopes of turning content into rocket ships- tribulations into telescopes.” He compares people who are seeking success to astronomers and classroom material to pathways towards his students’ triumphs. He implies that he plans to use the struggles his students face to show them that there is a brighter future ahead of them. The metaphor strengthens the speech by providing an example of how educators should aim to use education for the benefit of their students.

Secondly, the speaker emphasizes the imperfections in the education system using anaphora. He states that “injustice is telling them they are stars without acknowledging the night that surrounds them. Injustice is telling them education is the key while you continue to change the locks.” That statement emphasizes the fact that by failing to acknowledge students’ daily struggles, America’s education system prevents them from reaching their true potential. This enhances the speech by exposing the flaws in the education system. It brings attention to the detrimental effects of strict, un-individualized curriculum on scholars that face the trials of inequality.

Lastly, Donovan Livingston describes the benefits of using education as a tool against inequality through antithesis. He states that scholars who have their potential uncovered by a proper education are “unencumbered by the weight of poverty and privilege, policy and ignorance.” The antithesis defines the complete range between students that face injustice and those that benefit from privilege. It enhances the impact of the speech by stating that education can create a more equal playing field and lessen the weight of inequity on future generations.

In conclusion, Donovan Livingston highlights the challenges that arise from having an education system that does not take students’ struggles against inequality into account. He describes that problems in the education using metaphor, emphasizes the imperfections system using anaphora, and describes the benefits of using education as a weapon against inequality through antithesis. Donovan Livingston’s use of figurative language strengthens the descriptiveness of the speech and makes it more memorable. The speaker uses creative use of language to create a convincing call to action for educators throughout America. 

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now