Ballad of Birmingham Analysis Essay Sample
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In the verse form. “Ballad of Birmingham” . Dudley Randall depicts the existent historical events of the 1963 bombardment of Martin Luther King Jr. ’s church by white hatred felons in Birmingham. Alabama. Although this is the background and footing to the verse form. I believe there is a deeper significance that merely that. Beneath the talk of artlessness by the kid and the protective nature of the female parent. there lies an dry state of affairs. This verse form is non merely about the tragic events of a hatred offense during this clip. but by usage of word pick. symbolism and imagination. shows a struggle between a kid who understands the badness of racism in this clip and a female parent who is seeking to protect her kid from all of the jobs.

The first hint that the tone of the verse form is fatal and will stop in calamity is the rubric itself. Ballads are known to state tragic. amusing. or epic narratives by concentrating on one cardinal thought or event ( Poetry Foundation ) . Since the caption. ( On the Bombing of a Church in Birmingham. Alabama. 1963 ) is given every bit good. we know the scene of the verse form. This besides gives another hint that there will be a decease or harmful event at some point during the verse form. Along with the rubric and caption. the first stanza suggests an stoping to the narrative:

“Mother beloved. may I travel downtown
Alternatively of out to play.
And process the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today? ”
This kid is cognizant of the current racial favoritisms traveling on the universe and wants to process in order to assist. Give the cognition of the kid. it is boding that she will stop up at the church at some point.



Analyzing the idiom inside the poem gives many illustrations of the struggle between this female parent and kid. After the initial inquiry by the kid in the first stanza. the female parent replies with:
“No. babe. no. you may non travel.
For the Canis familiariss are ferocious and wild. ”
The “dogs” in this line is a metaphor to depict the white hatred felons.
She knows the danger that her girl would be in by traveling out and walking in the March. But the girl doesn’t understand wholly the badness of the hatred because of her comment:



“And march the streets of Birmingham
To do our state free. ”
The dorsum and Forth speaking between the female parent and kid throughout the verse form shows the different ways of thought of the two of them. The girl. although being called “baby” by her female parent. feels as though she isn’t excessively immature to be traveling out and seeking to assist “make her state free. ” The female parent. on the other manus. still sees her girl as an inexperienced person and unmindful to the current racial jobs in Birmingham.

The first indicant of sarcasm in this verse form comes in lines 14-16:
“For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may travel to church alternatively
And sing in the children’s choir. ”
The female parent believes that by directing her girl to church. the girl will be safe from the racial hate. Given the caption at the beginning of the verse form. it is known that the tragic event of this narrative takes topographic point in a church. Therefore. by seeking to protect her girl. she is really directing her into a topographic point of danger. The sarcasm of this verse form goes manus in manus with the multiple subjects. One subject is that parents are non ever traveling to be able to protect their kids. Another subject. calamity can go on at any clip. no affair how careful one is seeking to avoid it. is depicted in the old lines. 14-16.



The usage of imagination by Randall is of import in demoing the existent artlessness and pureness of the immature miss. By depicting her as “bathed rose petal sweet” it shows that she is pure and yet untouched by the racial hate. The term rose. in literature. frequently means a mark on artlessness and young person ( Marien ) . Lines 19-20:

“And drawn white baseball mitts on her little brown custodies.
And white places on her pess. ”
once more suggests the artlessness of the girl. By utilizing the colour white repeatedly. it shows the importance of how unharmed the girl is by the offenses during this clip of the Civil Rights motion.

The flood tide of the verse form takes topographic point in lines 25-26. “For when she heard the detonation. her eyes grew wet and wild. ” Throughout the whole narrative. the female parent has been making everything she can to maintain her girl safe. She sends her to church instead than allowing her girl walk the streets of Birmingham with other kids. But even though she has tried to protect her girl. calamity still strikes. The most dry portion of this verse form comes in the terminal:

“She clawed through spots of glass and brick.
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O here’s the shoe my babe wore.
But. babe. where are you? ”
The image of a female parent delving through glass and brick to happen her girl. merely to happen a individual shoe. summarizes the full subject of the verse form.
While “Ballad of Birmingham” can be read as the existent life events of a female parent and girl in the bombardment of a church in Birmingham. Alabama during the Civil Rights motion. by analyzing the imagination. symbolism and word picks used by Randall. it can besides state a tragic. yet dry narrative. I believe that “Ballad of Birmingham” shows the struggle between a protective female parent and her inexperienced person. yet knowing. girl.




Plants Cited
Marien. Catherine. “Language of Roses and Rose Symbolism. ” Lilly’s Rose Garden. Lilly’s Rose Garden. Web. Poetry Foundation. “Ballad. ” Poetry Foundation. 2014. Poetry Foundation. Web. Randall. Dudley. “Ballad of Birmingham. ” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction. Poetry. Drama and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 12th Edition. New York: Pearson. 2013.


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