Analysis of " Ballad of Birmingham "

Topics: Irony, Sarcasm, Poetry Pages: 2 (751 words) Published: September 28, 2012
Analysis of “Ballad of Birmingham”
In the “Ballad of Birmingham” Dudley Randall conjures one of the most vivid and vicious chapters from the civil rights movement: the bombing of a church in 1963 that wounded twenty-one and cost four girls their lives. This poem is a dialogue between mother and daughter during which ironically the mother forbids the daughter to march for freedom, fearing violence will erupt. Instead she gives her daughter permission to sing in the choir at their church. Dudley Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham”, written in 1969 uses tone, irony, and imagery to describe the events of the mother’s decisions, as well as her concern for her child’s wellbeing. The irony in this poem was shown when the church was the warzone and the freedom march was the safer place to be. It also seems ironic that the child is acting like the adult in this situation; you would think that the mother would be the one to go march to free her people not the child (123helpme).

In the first stanza the speaker is allowing the reader to make a specific picture of the march in Birmingham (mannmuseum). This stanza consists of dialogue between the mother and daughter. The daughter expresses her wishes to march the streets of Birmingham in a freedom march. In stanza two her mother said no, “for the dogs are fierce and wild” (6) this line uses imagery to make a mental picture of the violence and hostility that usually comes with freedom Juarbe 2

marches. Her mother also tells her there are “clubs and hoses, guns and jails” (7). These things were used on protestors and marches to control the crowds when they grew too large and gotten out of hand. The words used in line six and seven all conjure up to images of fights and riots. This is what the mother is afraid of and why she won’t let her daughter march.

In the third stanza the daughter tell her mother “I won’t be alone” (9) and, “other children will go with me” (10). Her daughter is expressing her feelings about marching to...
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