Analyzing The Poem 'Ballad Of Birmingham'

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Kelsi Cooley English 101 2pm Literary Analysis 14 November 2014 The “Ballad of Birmingham” Do you share a class with someone who is not the same ethnicity as yourself? There is a 99 percent chance that you said yes. About 50 years ago, that was unheard of. Everyone was segregated and civil rights was one of the biggest issues in America. There was extreme violence and racism in this country. Many people lost family members due to the violence of many racist people and groups. One specific poem captures the devastation and loss many families faced. “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall tells the heart breaking story of a mother’s loss of her child. This shows the inhumanity of the times and the disregard for innocence. “Ballad…show more content…
She denies her daughters requests to go to the freedom march in downtown Birmingham. She instead wants her to go to sing in the church choir, where she will be “safe”. Later the mother hears that the church her daughter was in was bombed by racists. This is another major part of this poem: irony. When she goes to the church to find her daughter, all she can find is glass, rock, and her daughter’s shoe. She exclaims “ O, here’s the shoe my baby wore, But, baby, where are you?”. This poem grabs readers by the heart strings, but completely takes us by surprise. Since this poem is a ballad we can expect maybe something catastrophic will happen. This is foreshadowed in the beginning when the young girl asks to go to the freedom march with other children to make this country “free”. This shows that there was no sanctuary for these people and that they had no respect for families. There is already a sadness to the poem and then as disaster strikes we understand what this has been building up to. The fact that a child even knew what a “freedom march” was gives us a taste of what the times were like back then. In the fifth stanza, the tone transitions to happiness that is felt by the mother when she dresses her child. She dresses her in all white, possibly to resemble purity of the child. In the sixth stanza we read “But that smile was the last smile to come upon her face.”. This foreshadows…show more content…
Many innocent people including children and the elderly were killed. We were not alive to experience it, and this poem gives us a bitter taste of violence and the stupidity of other people that went hand-in-hand with this time in history. It makes us feel sadness for the ones who suffered. We are very lucky to live in the time where we are more intelligent and more accepting people who are different. It is not fair to be treated differently for the color of your skin. We are all born a certain way and there is nothing we can do to change that. It is shameful how some people treated others who were different from them, and I am very thankful for leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks for standing up for what they believed so deeply in. If it weren't for them we may still be stuck in such a racist environment. “Ballad of Birmingham” is a tribute to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, the bombing’s four fatalities, as well as their mothers.”. (,March

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