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Theres more than one way to skin a cat likewise there are numerous ways to interpret a text It is crucial that we engage it from different perspectives within different contexts and value it for its various qualities Using the Post-Structuralism reading and by looking through different contextual windows we can give Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg address and Martin Luther Kings I have a dream speech innumerous permutations of meanings We can also choose to set aside the different contexts and appreciate it for the skill of the speaker and the artistry for which the speech has been written by taking the New Criticism approach Every reading is just as valid as another and ultimately it comes down to the responder The nature of Post Structuralism is that the texts have infinite number of interpretations The meaning we give the text is subjective and is a directly related to the context from which we are viewing the text The dominant reading is drawn from the most powerful people in society As the North has just won a decisive battle at Gettysburg Lincolns people became the dominant group and he was rendered an icon As a consequence his speech was given tremendous value It was a speech of patriotism encouragement and hope for the people But as we read the speech from a different perspective our interpretation changes accordingly From the Southerners point of view they are taking a resistant reading to the text being strongly opposed to the abolition of slavery the speech is threatening their way of life On the other hand from an African American perspective Lincoln did not go far enough Lincolns talk of Liberty and the proposition that all men are created equal were not consistent with their treatment by society and they demand more to be done The setting for Martin Luther Kings speech was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in front of
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