Narrative Poetry Narrative Poems are poems that tell a story. Like a story, they have a setting, characters, plot, theme, and atmosphere. Like poetry, they have rhythm, symbolism, and sometimes a rhyme.
The Ballad Ballads are a popular form of narrative poetry. They are the folk literature of the common people and were often written and passed down from generation to generation in the form of a song.
Characteristics of a Ballad... ·The ballad often deals with the Supernatural or great tales of heroics. (ie. "Jabberwocky" or "The Cremation of Sam McGee") ·The ballad is characterized by a Tragic outcome and sad atmosphere. ·It presents a single exciting and dramatic episode. ·There are often gaps in the narrative so that the listener must piece together what has actually happened to the characters. ·Dialogue is included to aid with characterization and plot. ·The stanzas are usually 4 - 6 lines long and there is often a clear rhyme scheme using couplets (AA BB CC...) ·There is a repetitive refrain (chorus, stanza serving as the introduction and the conclusion. The wording may be the exact same or it could be a repeated idea with similar phrasing.)
Let's revisit a poem from last year and see how it follows the rules of a ballad:
Here are a few more, only instead of being spoked, these ballads have been put to music. Listen to this piece and see if you can determine how it fits with the rules of a ballad:
How about this one?
Or this one?
Due to the rhyme scheme and rhythm involved, as well as the story line, and use of character, it is very popular for ballads to be put to music. In fact, in the 1980's one of best ways to create a "hit-single" was to write a ballad.
In case you are beginning to worry, not all ballads are songs. Nor do I expect you to sing me a ballad. So with that in mind, let's read and analyze "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" together...