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Analysis of "The Ballad of Birmingham"
Transcript of Analysis of "The Ballad of Birmingham"
by Dudley Randall
What factors can contribute to the development of a character or speaker?
gentle, almost innocent , quoting mother and daughter
descriptions of Mother supplement her worried tone
descriptions of daughter emphasize her maturing
Tone: ‘Mother dear, may I go downtown/ Instead of out to play’”
Attitude: “‘In a Freedom March today?’/ [...] ‘To make our country free.’”
“rose petal sweet”
“night-dark hair” “small brown hands”
Tone: “‘For the dogs are fierce and wild,/ And clubs and hoses, guns and jails’”
“‘No, baby, no’”
“smiled to know her child/ Was in a sacred place”
“She clawed through bits of glass and brick”
Diction & Rhythm
"And bathed rose petal sweet" - reflect a symbol of maturity, deeper meaning, and in this context the color of blood
Vividly connects and contrasts
"And white shoes on her feet." -the innocence of white shoes which adds the idea of youth
The Freedom March
A dangerous place for a child to be.
A sacred place meant to be a safe haven.
Concern, love, despair.
The white gloves and white shoes
Represents the girls youthful innocence.
No place is safe because no one can escape prejudice and hate.
Sheltering people from the truth will not necessarily keep them safe.
Loss of innocence
literally in that 4 young girls died before they could start their lives
and metaphorically in that children of color faced discrimination.
Biographical Info & Historical Reference
Rhythm & Syntax
ABAC -> ABAB -> ABAC
Daughter has vowel rhymes
Mother has consonant rhymes