The faded voices of choir singers are muffled by a roaring explosion. The sounds from the crumbling building spread down the block. Worn-down bricks, knocked out from underneath each another. Shards of colored glass, shot into the air. Chucks of wood and rubbish litter the sidewalk. Thick smoke and fearful screams saturate the air. A mother’s worse nightmare.
In the poem “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall, a mother attempted to protect her daughter by sending her to church. However, in the end, the child has her entire life stolen from her. The dramatic situation in the poem is portrayed and developed through Randall’s use of descriptive imagery, dialogue, irony, and a tonal shift.
Randall’s use of descriptive imagery shows the mother’s love for her daughter and sets up the dramatic situation. “She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair” (line 17). Through the carefully combing of her daughter’s hair, the reader can tell the mother takes a tremendous amount of pride in her daughter’s appearance. The quote also shows how profoundly the mother loves her daughter. Then when describing the girl’s shoes and gloves, Randall selects the color white. The color is represents of her purity and innocence.
Descriptive imagery is also dominant in line 29 “She clawed through bits of glass and brick,” allows the reader to vividly picture the mother frantically digging through the crumbling remains of the church in search of the daughter she holds dear to her heart. Clearly picturing the frantic mother the readers can feel how dramatic the situation is and the devastating, emotional impact it will have on the mother’s life. The descriptive imagery adds to the dramatic situation by allowing the reader to picture the mother and but perceive her emotions as she lifted the little white shoe from the debris.
Additional emotion is added to the poem by Randall’s use of dialogue simultaneously with the descriptive imagery. The dialogue in lines 13 – 16, lets the reader know that the mother simply wants what is best for her daughter. Therefore, she prevents the child from marching in the streets of Birmingham. Dialogue also helps demonstrates the depth of the relationship between the mother and daughter. The dialogue gives the poem emotion because it set ups the tone of the poem.
Randall proceeds to give the mother and...