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Analysis of "The Ballad of Birmingham"

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by

Grace Perez

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Analysis of "The Ballad of Birmingham"

Analysis of "The Ballad of Birmingham"
by Dudley Randall

Speaker
What factors can contribute to the development of a character or speaker?

Omniscient Narrator:
Tone
gentle, almost innocent , quoting mother and daughter
descriptions of Mother supplement her worried tone
descriptions of daughter emphasize her maturing

Daughter:
Tone: ‘Mother dear, may I go downtown/ Instead of out to play’”
Attitude: “‘In a Freedom March today?’/ [...] ‘To make our country free.’”
Physical:
“rose petal sweet”
“night-dark hair” “small brown hands”
“white shoes”

Mother:
Tone: “‘For the dogs are fierce and wild,/ And clubs and hoses, guns and jails’”
“‘little child’”
“‘No, baby, no’”
Attitude
“smiled to know her child/ Was in a sacred place”
“She clawed through bits of glass and brick”

Diction & Rhythm
Parallel Structures:

"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


Imagery
The Freedom March
A dangerous place for a child to be.
The church
A sacred place meant to be a safe haven.
The mother
Concern, love, despair.
The white gloves and white shoes
Represents the girls youthful innocence.

Meaning/Interpretation
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Biographical Info & Historical Reference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
Rhyme scheme
ABAC -> ABAB -> ABAC
Slant rhyme
Internal rhyme
Conversational
Daughter has vowel rhymes
Mother has consonant rhymes
Works Cited
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley_Randall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16th_Street_Baptist_Church_bombing
Full transcript