Ballad of the Landlord

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Ballad of the Landlord is about an African American tenant whose apartment is falling apart and doesn't want to pay the rent until the landlord fixes the problems. At the end of the poem, the landlord calls the police and they take him away to jail for refusing to pay the rent.

The speaker in this poem is a poor African American tenant. He is angry that the landlord won't fix anything yet still wants him to pay the rent. I would characterize the speaker as someone who doesn't want to be cheated out of his money and wants to be treated fairly. The speaker reveals his true feelings about paying the rent in stanza four where it says, "Ten Bucks you say is due? Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'll pay you, will you fix this house up new."

The language used in this poem is fairly easy to understand. The word "eviction" means to force out by legal process. This word contributes the most to the poem, because it makes the reader understand that the landlord is serious, and the disagreement isn't just between two neighbors. The imagery in the poem includes "You gonna take my furniture and Throw it in the street?" and "Copper's Whistle! Patrol Bell! Arrest." The images collectivly suggest that the landlord is being harsh on the speaker and will throw his furniture out and call the cops just to make him pay the rent.

This poem uses figures of speech. It uses apostrophe when the speaker calls out, "Landlord, landlord." The poem doesn't use metaphor or simile; instead it tells the story straight forward. The apostrophe in this poem greatly contributes to the feeling and meaning. It shows that the tenant is telling the landlord these problems, and almost pleading or begging him to fix his apartment.

One major detail of language that contributes to the poem is the dialect of the speaker. He uses the ebonics that are common among African Americans, such as "These steps is broken down." This shows that that tenant is probably poor and uneducated, so the landlord is...
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