London - William Blake
Terms in this set (32)
He's walking casually, slowly
The verb implies his movements are purposeless - reflects how the poet is unable to change what is happening
Each street is owned by someone
Reminds us of the divide between rich and poor - capitalism
The streets are controlled
Nature is controlled by man
"And mark in every face I meet"
Everyone is without power & in misery
"Marks of weakness, marks of woe"
1) People look like they're marked by their circumstances
2) The evidence Blake is gathering about the tragic lives of Londoners
"Every infant's cry of fear"
Repetition emphasises the scale of the suffering. Men are crying out - maybe for help, for pain. Children are scared, vulnerable. Victorian London was a dangerous and violent place to live.
People are trapped in London - they're trapped in in their position.
Their belief in their own weakness holds them back
Blake could be asking people to throw off the "manacles" of their belief that they should be told what to do
Polysemous (more than one connotation)
Oxymoron as the church is meant to be a place of purity and happiness. This church is grimy and dirty OR evil and sinful for not protecting children from child labour.
"Hapless soldier's sigh/ Runs in blood down palace walls"
Links to the imagery of the French Revolution - if nothing changes, it will culminate in blood.
Symbolic metaphor - signifies the sacrifice of the soldiers to protect the power of those who live in the palaces.
Unhappiness of British soldiers could lead to a similar uprising if they are continually ignored.
"Hapless soldier's sigh"
Contrasts with the patriotism of the country
Soldiers were described as heroic, not unlucky.
"Young harlot's curse"
1) She feels cursed to suffer.
2) She's cursed a marriage by breaking the loyalty of the husband to the wife.
"Blasts the new-born infant's tear"
The child's innocence vanishes instantly.
They are a bastard - born out of wedlock.
"And blights with plagues the marriage hearse"
Oxymoron - how can the happy image of marriage be linked with death with a 'hearse'?
The existence of a prostitute (who may or may not have a child) ruins the concept of marriage - leads to the death of the marriage.
Suggests that society has destroyed all the good things in life..
Repetition of these words. Repeptition to show that the evils of London are unstoppable and everywhere. Highlights that what the poet sees is cyclical.
"Man" - "Ban"
"Fear" - "Hear"
Rhyming - Stanza Two
Creates an atmosphere of the sounds
Rhyme in 'London'
The rhyming remains consistent throughout - this echoes the continual misery of London
Rhythm of 'London'
Iambic tetrameter - seven lines have seven beats instead of eight - breaks the regular flow of language, which mirrors the abnormality of the London world.
Iambic tetrameter - most common feet used in poetry - reflects how dull and boring London is.
Rhyme creates the rhythm of the narrator walking.
Form & Structure
4 four-line stanzas
Iambic tetrameter - 8 syllable
"marks of weakness, marks of woe" - 7 syllables
Ideas in the poem
Blake uses snapshots of the city to depict his negative opinion on society at the time.
Reflects his disillusionment with religion and authority.
His views are revolutionary for the time - he challenges the idea that man is worth more than slavery.
He challenges the establishment in their 'palaces' & 'churches' which are marked by the blood & blackening of good people.
The poem is an ironic look at misery in the greatest city in the world.
Experiencing the Industrial Revolution
Illness & disease spread quickly
Cramped dirty living conditions
Cities became more populated
The French Revolution
King Louis XVI was executed.
Meant to show all men are equal & have power.
Frightening for Britain - they were a monarchy & aristocracy, like France.
Blake could be supporting revolution.
Tone & Mood
Relation to power & conflict
1) Lack of power
2) Abuse of power
3) Possible inspiration of the overthrowing of power during the French Revolution
4) People in power are to blame for the inequality
Songs of Experience
The poem is from this collection.
Focuses on how innocence is lost & society is corrupt.
Much of his work was influenced by his radical political views.
He believed in social & racial equality.
Imagery of suffering or conflict
"Marks of weakness, marks of woe"
"cry of every Man"
"infants cry of fear"
"mind- forg'd manacles"
"Chimney sweepers cry"
"youthful Harlots curse"
What causes these conflicts? Those in power.
Repeated twice in first two lines.
Context 1760-1820 lots of land in England that was public land was given ownerrship.
Charter - granted rights and priviledges. Creation and management of this made profit for bankers and merchants.
Blake - angered by those who owned nature.
Chartered in line one - criticisimm of private land.
Chartered in line two is River Thames - juxtaposition of the power of nature and the power of man. Try and control - satirical control of a river - ironically writing about the chartered Thames. Saw rich getting ricj and the poor being heavily goverened and controlled.
Repeated twice in line three and four.
Mark - notice in every face
Mark - everyone he sees is marked by experience
Blake does not agree with all of these changes
Repeated three times in stanza two. Builds to 'mind forged' manacles
Chimney sweeper's cry
"mind forged manacles
Forge - blacksmith's workshop
manacles - like handcuffs
Shocking image - normally associated to criminals
"Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains" Rousseau - Man's lack of freedom, are mind forged. Come from ideas and outlooks from authorities. Who influences us to think this way?
"Every black'ning church"