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Interpretation of Poem “Ballad of Birmingham” – Dudley Randall

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Dudley Randall, a distinguished African American poet wrote “Ballad of Birmingham”. It is a lyrical ballad known for the theme of losing a child to the violence. The poem was written as a response to the 1963 bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was first published in 1965.

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In 'Ballad of Birmingham,' Dudley Randall illustrates a conflict between a child who wishes to march for civil rights and a mother who wishes only to protect her child. Much of this poem is read as dialogue between a mother and a child, a style which gives it an intimate tone and provides insight to the feelings of the characters. Throughout the poem the child is eager to go into Birmingham and march for freedom with the people there. The mother, on the other hand, is very adamant that the child should not go because it is dangerous. It is obvious that the child is concerned about the events surrounding the march and wants to be part of the movement. During the 1960s, riots, influenced by violence such as bomb, hose, and dog attacks, were common. It is understandable that the mother did not want her daughter exposed to this violence. In fact, she wanted her daughter as far away from the terror as possible. The one place that many would resort to would be a sacred place, the church. Throughout history, the church have always been looked at as a place of holiness and can be referred to as a place of safety.

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This essay seeks to analyze and explain the literary elements present in Dudley Randall’s Ballad of Birmingham, as well as their relevance in making the message of the story clear. The poem tells the story of a young girl who asks for permission from her mother to participate in a march taking place in down town Birmingham (Randall, 1). The daughter tries to explain that there will be other children in the march and therefore relatively safe for her to participate. Strongly, the mother says the child cannot go and instead advices her to go to the church and sing in the choir. The daughter heeds and cleans up before going to the church. Later, a bombing occurs at the church and the mother rushes only to find that her daughter was among the victims (Randall, 2).

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Obviously, rough Draft for Critical Analysis Essay Irony is a big part in life, especially when you try to something right and it ultimately blows up in your face. This poem written by Dudley Randall “Ballad of Birmingham” is a world shattering and ironic story of a mother trying to keep her daughter out of harm’s way, and it ultimately failed. Randall wrote his poem in dialogue to show a conversation between mother and daughter.

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Poole, Phyllistine G. (Enero de 1983). «=People Profile: Dudley Randall Poet Laureate of Detroit». Colorlines Magazine 2 (2): 4, 28.

Randall, Dudley. "Broadside Press: A Personal Chronicle." en Floyd B.

Barbour (ed.), The Black Seventies, Porter Sargent Publisher, 1970, pp. 139–148. Reproducido. en Jeffrey W. Hunter (ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 135. Gale, 2001. Literature Resource Center.

Randall, Dudley. Ballad of Birmingham: On the Bombing of a Church in Birmingham. USA: Broadside Press, 1965. Print.

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Interpretation of Poem “Ballad of Birmingham” – Dudley Randall
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