Lexical Cohesion and Literariness in Malcolm X's " The Ballot or the Bullet"

Document Type: Research Articles


Lecturer of English and Academic Writing and Communication Skills, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Ghana.


This paper unearths the contribution of lexical cohesion to the textuality and overall meaning of Malcolm X’s speech 'The Ballot or the Bullet'. Drawing on Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) and Hoey’s (1991) theory of cohesion, specifically lexical   cohesion, whose main thrust is the role of lexical items in not only contributing to meaning but also serving as cohesive ties, the paper discusses how Malcolm employs words in serving a dual role of contributing to meaning by serving as cohesive ties and their literary use for an aesthetic touch to his The Ballot or the Bullet. Discussions show that Malcolm X employs both simple and complex lexical structures to achieve cohesion in 'The Ballot or the Bullet'. The same lexical structures espouse the literary device of repetition, for emphasis and rhythm. Malcolm, therefore, combines linguistic and literary phenomena by his employment of lexical items in not only conveying meaning or passing information to his audience but also doing that with artistic beauty.


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