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Monica Kempski IM’s Eulogy

In Clifton’s eulogy, IM uses several effective devices to rally up the African

Americans in attempt to being heard and becoming visible.
IM combines imagery and metaphor to convey his point to the African American
population. In the eulogy, IM describes Clifton’s coffin. “It’s dark in this box and
crowded. It has a cracked ceiling and a clogged up toilet in the hall. It has rats and
roaches, and it’s far, far too expensive a dwelling. The air is bad and it’ll be cold this
winter” (458.5). Here, IM says, the entire black population is trapped. He uses this
stirring descriptive metaphor to exemplify the pit in which African Americans are trapped
by racism. If they do not act as IM wishes, they will be forever doomed-unheard and
invisible to the whites. Later in the speech, IM elaborates on this metaphor. “Tell them to
get out of the box and go teach the cops to forget that rhyme. Tell them to teach them that
when they call you a nigger to make a rhyme with trigger it makes the gun backfire”
(458.8). With this section of the speech, IM is implying that the blacks should remind
whites of their wrongdoings, and if they do not respect the blacks, they will receive crime
and punishment.
IM uses repetition when IM mentions Clifton’s name several times in his eulogy.
In countless lines, IM could have used “he” or “him” in place of Clifton’s name, but did
not. This is to remind the audience of Clifton’s identity. Even though he is dead, Clifton
was still a man and soul murdered by injustice. IM is also keeping the importance of
finding an identity and preserving it to a dispossessed black audience.
IM also questions the audience on several accounts. The technique of questioning
is very beneficial in a speech. If a listener looses sight of the topic out of boredom or loss
of topic, a question can regain their attention. This also encourages involvement in the
speech which makes the listener want to act on the subject and remember it.
Most importantly, IM addresses the theme of racism in Clifton’s death. In the
speech, IM portrays the cop that shot Clifton as the enemy and the burden of their times.
“Just look around you. Look at what he made, look inside you and feel his awful power”
(457.9). IM is installing hatred in the blacks towards the whites by blaming the white
policeman for Clifton’s death. IM’s goal is to turn this hatred fueled by racism into a riot,
encouraging the black to act and obtain the equality they desire.
Ultimately, the devises that IM used in his speech had made it successful. With
this success, IM achieved being visible with the riot that it encouraged.