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Imagery in House Divided Speech

Imagery Examples in House Divided Speech:

Text of Lincoln's Speech

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"I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. ..."   (Text of Lincoln's Speech)

Lincoln employs parallel structure and metaphor to emphasize the instability of the Union in its current state. Just as a “house divided against itself cannot stand,” neither can a nation torn between opposing ideologies continue to function. By comparing the United States to a house, Lincoln evokes the visual image of a structure on the verge of collapse. A house is capable of sheltering and protecting its inhabitants, but it is also capable of caving in on them. Lincoln uses repetition and parallelism to add severity to his words, emphasizing the image of a house falling over and offering a grim prediction for the future: If the United States cannot come together on the topic of slavery, then it will never be truly stable.

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