“Ballad of Birmingham

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“Ballad of Birmingham”

No, baby, no you may not go. We’ve all probably heard this once in our life times. Our moms always think they know best and they always say the decisions they make are for our own good. In some cases that’s true but in others it isn’t. In the “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randal it’s what the mother tried to protect her daughter but it wasn’t what she was expecting. It actually turned out to be a whole different story. This poem has a strong tone to it; it also has a very strong theme and a good variety of figurative language.

The poem has a very happy tone to it at the beginning. The child says “Mother Dear, may I go downtown instead of out to play, and march the streets of Birmingham in a freedom march today?”(Lines 1-4) Obviously her daughter wants to do something her mother doesn’t approve of her doing. So her mother say “No, baby, no you may not go” (Line 5) She thinks that it’s a bad idea for a little child going downtown. So that’s when a little argument start not big but her mom say no and rather she goes to church. After she dresses her up the poem turns into a tragedy because when her mother left she had a smile and it was the last smile she would have in her face. Sadly there was a terrible explosion.

The theme of this poem is you can’t always boast about things that are going to happen because you never know what can change in a heartbeat. It’s also about things that can change your life for ever. The mother thinks that downtown is not a place for her child. She says “No, baby, no you may not go. For I fear those guns will fire. But you may go to church instead and sing in the children’s choir” (Lines 13-16) Thinking its safe for her child she sends her to church and leaves with a smile but returns with a frown and tears coming down her face. She than sees her child’s white shoe she had worn but never say her child.

The figurative language in this poem is strange but logical. For example “For the dogs are fierce...
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