Eighteenth century and modern day poetry, while remaining independent in their own right, address similar issues relating to the loss of childhood innocence. In both eras, the magnitude and severity maybe experessed differently with respect to the issues concerning violence, safety, and spirituality. Dudly Randall in his 1969 poem "Ballad of Birmingham" touches on the irony of the impetuous burdened mother trying to protect her child from the viciousness of the beast when, in fact, she sent her unkinowingly straight into the lions’ den. However, the message by William Black in his 1789 poem "Chimney Sweeper" showa a parent’s more uncaring in nature. IN this polished work, the parent realizes the idea of death is distained but not devasting, whereas death is uncertain in "Ballad of Birmingham".
R. Baxter Miller in his work of "modern Americhan Poetry" said "thus, there is no sanctuary in an evil world…and one may face horror in the street as well as in the church". This statement best describes the relative impact of modern poetry like "Ballad of Birmingham" and 18th century poetry like "Chimney Sweeper" because the outcome in both is not the control of the child. Both poems give the reader a deeper look into the loss pf purity of children. All inadvertently touching the world upon their death. In the "Ballad of Birmingham" a young girl expresses to her mom the impact she wants to have on the civil rights movement. The "Chimney Sweeper" tells the story of a yount boy that faces the option of death every das as he labors in soot.
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Randall offera a conversational tone in "Ballad of Birmingam" between a mother and a daughter. The girl attempting to convince her mother to allow her to walk in a march for the civil rights movement "But mother, I won’t be alone. Other childern will be with me and march the streets of Birmingham to make our country free" And the imagery of a mother horrified becauade she lovingly trying to save her child from harm by sending her to church "For when she heard the explosion, Her eyes grew wet and wild, She raced through the streets of Birmingham calling for her child’. James Sullivan during his research of Randall conveys his belief of this poem being recovgnized as "(using) the conventions of the traditional broadside ballad for contemporary polictical goals". This is important because it initated a literary revolt of Black Poems.
Like Dudley Randall, William Blake in "Chimney Sweeper" used rhyming stanzas and a coversational tone. He also uses reference to GBod as a saftey net. For example, as the young daughter was sent to church to sing in the choir as a precaustion, one of these young boys used a dream of God and His angels as motivation to continue in this death defying occupation. He explicitly shows the fear of children durning the late 1700’s because of the risk they take every day cleaning the chimneys of all that request them in order to be the breadwinners of their families. The lack of parental concern for the safety of these young boys compels them to rely on their spirituality for comfor. Blake communicated this fear and distain as he discussed his young friends that were killed in the line of duty. The reader is left with the illustration of "…thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack, were all of them locked up in coffins of black". The image of tiny little boys dead due to the adult need of spotlessness is haunting.
Both poems "Ballad of Birmingham" and "Chimney Sweeper" leave lasting impressons of sympathy on the reader. They appeal to the emotions of those who have and our caring of children. They also ended up making an inadvertent colossal statement in their perspective eras. It is becuase of thisy type literature that changes were able to be made benefiting the ones that were involved and powerless to vote. The young girl along with her three friends because martyrs to the Black community and gave them even more commitment to the civil rights movement. The duty allocation for which young boys sacrificed their childhoods in an effort to support their families was reformed and rebuked.
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