Ballad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall Essay

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Ballad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall

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. The child expresses these feelings in a way
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shows the mother?s inability to see her daughter?s desire to go march as anything more than a childish fancy. The mother?s attitude toward the march is an unreasonable fear for her child?s safety, a state of mind that alludes to her detachment from the events and opinions that fuel the march. When compared to that of the child, the mother?s approach to the march is that of one who is uninformed and unconcerned.

The mother?s detachment and idealism lead her to believe that the church is the safest place for her child. She feels that upon entering the church, the child will be removed from the world around her and the violence that engulfs it. This also points to the mother?s belief that remaining oblivious to the source of the civil unrest will make them disappear. When she tells the child to go to the church, she is in effect showing her feelings that attending church is the important thing to do and that the problems of the world outside will be resolved without any further effort.

When the mother sends her child off to church, she brushes her hair, bathes her, and puts white shoes and gloves on her. This effort put into creating an image of beauty and peace in her child shows that the mother is trying to forget about the suffering of the people who are fighting for freedom that she is doing nothing to aid. When she sees her child this way, she feels that she has