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Situational Irony In The Ballad Of Birmingham

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The “Ballad of Birmingham” was written in response to the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The author Dudley Randall, uses a mother and daughter to describe what might have occurred to someone involved in the bombing. The little girl wants to go downtown and participate in one of Birmingham's many freedom marches, but her mother refuses to allow the little girl to attend. Her mother thinks that it is an inappropriate place for a little girl to attend because it is extremely unsafe because of the the police dogs and other violence against the protesters that have occurred before. Then to try to convince her mother to let her go the little girl states “But, mother, I won’t be alone./Other children will go with me,/And march the streets of Birmingham/To make our country free.”(lines 9-12). Her mother insist and that she goes to church and sing in the choir because church is normally thought of as a safe place. Then after the little…show more content…
Situational irony is the difference between what is expected to happen and what actually occurs. In the poem, a young girl wants to attend a freedom march, a type of political rally, in downtown Birmingham. Her mother fears the march isn’t a safe place for her daughter, so she sends her to church instead. The situational irony is that the mother expects that the church will provide a safe place for her daughter while the march would not. What occurs, however, is the opposite. The child is killed in a bombing at the church and would have actually been safer at the freedom march. It is ironic that a political rally is a much safer place than a church that day. No one ever expects that anything bad would happen in a church because it’s a place of worship and is suppose to be a safe place. A church is looked at as a safe place you can go to and have to worry about any of the bad things happening in the world but not in this
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