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This paper is a review of the annotated bibliography done earlier. A few issues have come to my attention in the previous paper. The themes in the paper seemed to revolve around key areas such as gender, law, and murder in a society. The three seemed to intertwine to form a complex web of situations creating heightened emotions in the parties involved. In one setting, the female was the criminal, which was rarity at then. However, the event caused gender issues, which were at a heightened phase during that time to overcompensate. The result was that Frankie, a lady, received death penalty and subsequent execution.
The trial was rushed through. In fact, it took only two days. The attorney in the case opted to deny everything claiming that the evidence was circumstantial at best (Murder by Gaslight, 2010). In this case, the legal procedures may have not been followed through to the letter. The research in this paper especially went to the facts surrounding the murder cases rather than the trials themselves. In the case of The Ballad of Frankie Silver, the remains of the husband and their situation as compared to the story that she told, did really put her in a bad position; self incrimination.
It is the same with the murder of Ellen Smith. The note in her jacket pocket was all the evidence needed for a conviction. In my opinion, many ballads are written after such tragic events especially when there is a victim and perpetrator. A good example in this case would be the Twin Tower Attacks. The only difference is that this would have an added twist such that one would also include the presence of the hero’s role as a character. The hero in this story was Rick Rescorla. He saved almost 2700 lives in the attacks only to lose his own (Ellison, 2011).
The ballads in the two articles seem to relate to the main issues in that era. These were legislative, murder, and gender issues. All of them were common issues to deal with, and they gave certain cultural definition especially in those times. These are the traits that movie directors and playwrights use when creating their pieces. An example would be the sad songs Olive Burt’s mother sung to her a lullaby as a means to calm her and to lull her to sleep although they were referred to as sad songs at the time (Botkin, 1958).
On the first issue, which is murder, the perpetrators all seem to be guilty of the crime they were charged for. When it comes to circumstantial evidence, a portion of the narration seems convincing: the only thing damning the cases. In the case of Ellen Smith’s murder, it was the note that he left tucked away in her dress. On the other hand, Frankie’s husband’s dogs, his hat, and the gun sold her off. She claimed that he had gone hunting without these items. This is what prompted his dad to call the sheriff and find out what was going on.
It seems that the law had a course to follow and did not distinguish the gender in the broad sense of the term. The offenders were of different sexes in both cases. The commonality is that both of them were convicted. The circumstances surrounding each case would raise a few eyebrows, but it would be pertinent to state that the system in place actually did some good work, legally. This is because, in both cases, justice barely prevailed.
The perception may not be as such for the first case especially because the offender is a woman. Thus, she is in a better position to come off looking as the innocent however guilty she was. The ballads from the era share a tinge of teaching and are a form of narration the older generation used to tell the past events to their children. Books also served this purpose. Stories like children classics in the jungle book by Rudyard Kipling are examples (Wintle, 1981). Ballads, on the other hand, were a way for the older generation to remember. These past events were told as stories, but in this way, information was often distorted such that pieces were mistaken and replaced in other forms.
Similarly, ballads mostly retained their information whether written or sung. They were mostly unforgettable. They played some roles from an educational perspective to that of entertaining and motivating the children. They also showed different perspectives in Americans lives from different angles. Through the same way, Black poets and authors have made a large contribution to the education of the masses. Langston Hughes is best known for his portrayals of Black-American life in the later periods, in the twenties (Poet.org, 1997). Overall, the accounts give a good idea of the lifestyle in that period as well as valuable teachings to carry forward to subsequent generations.
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