Fight Against Violence in Ballad of Birmingham and Battle of the Ants
It’s been a while since the days of Martin Luther King. To this day his name has a familiar ring to the ears of hundreds of people all around the world. If against racism he did not choose to strive. To this day the incredible, great man he would be alive, but his pure soul along with the lives of millions of brave innocent people that have fallen horrifically under this cruel injustice called racism and have died. To this day racism is scattered throughout the earth. Racism only leads to division, war, and inevitable evil. To this day racism, and racial tension although has decreased over the years is still alive and well.
In the stories “Ballad of Birmingham” and “Battle of the Ants” the dreadful violence is almost incomprehensible. The article, “Ballad of Birmingham” is about an African American girl who begs her mother to be allowed to join one of the various marches. Her mother was afraid of the awful violence that could erupt by those looking to end the dangerous marches. She refuses to let her go but that doesn’t mean her sweet little daughter is safe from the unnerving violence and harm of racism. The mother commanded to her child “No, baby, no, you may not go,/ for I fear those guns will fire,/…For the dogs are fierce and wild/…guns and jails aren’t good for a little child.” Violence plays a major part in the ‘Ballad of Birmingham’ along with the article the “Battle of Ants.” The threat of gut-wrenching violence lingers over these articles.
Violence spews out of the article “Battle of the Ants” as the merciless, determined ants battled savagely, “The black soldier had severed the heads of his foes from their bodies, and the still living heads were hanging on either side of him like ghastly trophies at his saddle-bow.” The violence in these stories adds an intense and heart breaking image in the head of the reader. Another very important similarity of these stories are the irony. Irony has a great role and impact on the development of these articles. For example in the poem, “Ballad of Birmingham” the story begins as an unnamed young girl begging her mother to allow her to attend the Freedom March: “Mother dear, may I go downtown/Instead of out to play,/And march the streets of Birmingham/In a Freedom March today?” The mother refuses, instead urging the innocent girl to go to the church because she believes it is safe, while the march could become deadly dangerous. The irony is that the girl goes to the ‘safe’ church but is still a victim of blood-filled violence. The irony in the article, “The Battle of the ants” includes the comparison and personification of ants, Thoreau uses the furious ants and their battle as a satire for human conflict. The strong headed ants are Utterly devoted to duty, the warriors never retreat from a confrontation, even when it signifies certain death, it is “Conquer or die.” The ants are just like the human soldiers from the infamous battle of Concord. The fierce ant grabs an enemy and holds it in place until one of the bigger warriors advances and cleaves the captive’s body, leaving it smashed and oozing out internal organs and blood.
These articles also have distinct differences, they both have unique themes. In the article “Ballad of Birmingham” the poem’s theme carries the message that absolutely no place is a safe haven against racial prejudice, especially when the government does not offer equal protection. Ultimately, not even a safe place like a church is not immune from its powerful devastation. The theme in the story “Battle of the Ants” the author implies that the motive for war is irrational, war is utterly pointless yet it still leads to suffering, bloodshed, and death of innocent soldiers. In both of these stories, the authors make distinct historical references. In the poem “Ballad of Birmingham” the author makes a historical reference to the bombings in Birmingham, Alabama. Randall reminds us of a very colorless and dark period in American history, the purpose being that we might never repeat that same horror again. Thousands of Americans “heard the explosion” and their “eyes grew wet and wild” when white supremacists bombed a church and caused the devastating death of four innocent young girls. Thoreau’s narrative of the battle is very detailed and packed with historical allusions. These allusions make the reader become fired up over the subject of war. The first allusions of human battles and people are to the Trojan War. Thoreau makes many references to this great struggle, “The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and values in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and the dying.” Other historical illusions include the American Revolutionary War against the British, the first battle was at Concord Bridge,”And certainly, there is not the fight recorded in Concord history, at least, if in the history of America, that will bear a moment’s comparison with this, whether for the numbers engaged in it, or for the patriotism and heroism displayed.” These historical illusions created an unforgettable story in the reader’s mind.
To this day racism and racial tension although has decreased over the years is still alive and well all around the world. In a Number of countries in the Middle East discriminatory practice has been common according to the article “Racism” by Anup Shah, “people of color face discrimination at work and away from work, often not allowed at some beaches or clubs, or allowed with various restrictions.”Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics. “With the terrible acts of terrorism committed by terrorists in America, on September 11, 2001, there has additionally been an outpouring of violent racial hatred by a minority of people in Western countries against people that look Middle Eastern, some who are not Middle Eastern, such as Indians, have even been beaten or killed.” Racial tension is real in our society and it has been integrated into our culture since the start of mankind. According to the article, “Racial Tension” by Barbara Beck “I remember when I was a little girl, I had a friend who was from Cuba. Pilar was her name, and I adored her. But her life wasn’t easy. She was often made fun of or made to feel inferior because of her accent.” Racism lives right in front of our eyes and it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, and their dignity to this day.
Although it has decreased, Racism and racial tension continue to thrive as it is alive and well all over the world. Racism leads to extreme division, war, injustice, and evil. Like the ants from the story “Battle of the ants,” we as a people can be utterly devoted to stopping the spread of racism. We as a people have the potential of taking racism as our mortal enemy and leaving it smashed and oozing until it disappears for good. Although some may believe that racism has disappeared over time or dissipated and no longer exists but it is a fire that has yet to be extinguished.
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