Dudley Randall -- Ballad of Birmingham(1966) Response
The Ballad of Birmingham resembles a traditional ballad in that it tells a story in a song-like manner. The didactic tone seeks to teach us something; in this case it's the theme of needless destruction. There are many devices the author uses to create such a tone and to tell such a story.
First of all, the most visible element of importance is the irony. A kid dying in a church where his mom told him to go to be safe is very ironic and it completely portrays the current situation of racial violence in the southern states. No one would want to be stuck in the mother's situation and your heart pains for her struggle.
Dialogue both begins and ends the poem. It introduced both "characters" in the poem and sets up the "plot". It then concludes the poem with the final cry from the mom. At the beginning the dialogue serves to show us the innocence of the child. He implores "Mother dear
" and tried to assure his mom with "to make our country free." The mother dear comment makes the reader think of a cute little child not even close to the verge of losing his/her innocence. The second comment shows the ideologically simple thinking of child. That kind of comment is comparable to "I want the world to have peace to everyone is happy" comment common among middle-schoolers and beauty queens. In the next stanza the dialogue of the mom contrasts that of the kid. She is the voice of reason and caution and the kid is the voice of pro-activity and enthusiasm. She lists the dangers one by one, understands the problem, and gives a solution. She is very much a common sense figure. It also goes so far as to parallel the two voices for the black community at that time. One voice was proactive and wanted to march for freedom and the other wanted to kneel and pray rather than stand up for their rights.
Another contrast is the vision of the woman before the bombing at the church and after the bombing at...
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