Ballad of Birmingham Response Essay

689 Words May 27th, 2005 3 Pages
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
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Her beautiful hair and white clothing make one think of a pure, angelic figure. Then, suddenly, in one line, her description is a new one, "Her eyes grew wet and wild." It seems like the camera now just flashed to her face as it turns to look at it. The short verses long descriptions show the reader her state of being. The long lined description gives a feeling of sereneness, then the one-liner shows the reader her panic and shock The structure of the last three stanzas leaves us hanging from each one. If there was a song to this as music would rise in volume and pitch at each of the final stanza lines. If you read the poem right, the lines seem to echo in your head and slow your progress to the next stanza. There were a few interesting lines in the poem that were particularly well written. When the mother is denying her kid the right to march, she says "For I fear those guns will fire." This has triple alliteration and the ‘f' sounds give the line a more intimidating sound to it. In the elongated description of the mom the line reads, "And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands…" This line uses a parallel structure of sorts in that is has two adjectives before each noun making the line sound like a song of sorts. It also uses assonance with the ‘a' sound in the words drawn and small. The other interesting line appears after the explosion. It says, "She clawed through bits of glass and brick." Not only does it have alliteration, the

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