Diction And Symbolism In Dudley Randall's Ballad Of Birmingham

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speakers, the mother and young daughter, take turns in a dialogue that begins in the first stanza with the daughter asking her mother to go downtown:
Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And March the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today? (Randall 1-4)
As the daughter asks her mother if she can go downtown, “Mother dear, may I go downtown,” her diction is that of a young and innocent girl who loves and respects her mother. The word “dear” reveals the admiration and love she has for her mother as she addresses her and the word “may” reveals the respect that she has for her mother. These two words expose the loving and endearing relationship that the mother and daughter have together, which sets the reader up …show more content…

As she does so, she is like a “blossom,” like a flower just opening to the world – innocent, fragile, but brave. In accordance with this interpretation, Miller argues that Dudley Randall draws parallels between the racial progress in “Ballad of Birmingham” to a sort of “blossoming,” or growth, as he describes the historical event. Dudley Randall’s executive use of diction continues in the second stanza, emphasizing the emotions of the mother as she replies to her daughter: No, baby, no, you may not …show more content…

/ Other children will go with me,’” is designed to make the reader respond to the daughter’s and mother’s emotions during this time. The child wants to be a part of something greater than herself; she wants to make her country free. In doing so, she is fearless which expresses the idealism that so many young people have due to their lack of life experience. However, while the mother, one can assume, is proud of her daughter’s bravery, she is fearful, yet not overcome with fear, for her safety. Because she has more life experience than her daughter has and better understands the cruelties and hardships of the world, the mother’s voice represents the voice of experience. Reflecting back on Sullivan’s insight, he declared that the poem “uses the ballad convention of the innocent questioner and the wiser respondent… but it changes the object of knowledge from fate to racial politics. The child is the conventional innocent, while the mother understand he violence of this political moment.” In addition, as the reader understands this push-pull of bravery and fear along with innocence

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