Essay about Imagery: African American and Imagery

Submitted By GabbyAlberti
Words: 713
Pages: 3

What is imagery? Imagery is a visual description or figurative language in literary work. A few examples of literary work with great examples of imagery are “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randal, “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, and “Strange Fruit” by Billy Holiday. Each one of these poems uses excellent imagery to illustrate what they are talking about. These writers might also be using imagery so that the reader can better comprehend what the poems are about. “The Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randal is about the bombing of a church in 1963 that wounded and killed many people. Randal’s poem is about a mother whose daughter wants to march in the streets of Birmingham in a freedom march, but the mother says that is too dangerous so she sends her to the church where she thinks it is safer. It turns out that on that day there was a bombing at the church and the women’s daughter was killed in it. Randal uses imagery to describe the women’s decisions and also her concern for her daughter’s life. “For the dogs are fierce and wild” and “Clubs and hoses, guns and jails” use imagery to illustrate the violence that came with freedom marches in that time period, which explains the mother’s reasoning for telling her daughter no the freedom march(6). Randal also uses imagery to also describe the little girl and her innocence, “She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair, and bathed rose petal sweet, and drawn white gloves on her small brown hands, and white shoes on her feet”(17). When the mother discovers that her daughter was at the church where the bombing occurred the reader can visualize how frantic she becomes, “Her eyes grew wet and wild, she raced through the streets of Birmingham, calling for her child” (26). “Strange Fruit” by Billy Holiday is a very strong worded yet disturbing song. Holiday doesn’t only use imagery, but also symbolism. This song gives a short example of how black people were thought of back then and how people treated them. Some of her very descriptive writing that catches ones eye is “The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth” which emphasizes how racist some white Americans use to be (6). “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” and “Then the sudden smell of burning flesh are both” are possibly the most vulgar yet strongest sentences Holiday uses in the song “Strange Fruit” (3). Granted this poem is disturbing, but it is a wonderful song because it shows exactly how black people were treated. Holiday held nothing back when writing this and it is a good thing she