London - William Blake (Summary Sheet)

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Information about London - William Blake (Summary Sheet)

Published on September 16, 2017

Author: JaskiratKanwal


1. London William Blake THEME & ABOUT: AO1 1 Point Min. STRUCTURE: AO2 The Way The Poem’s Organised – Enjambment, Repetition, Stanzas, Rhythm, Rhyme etc. 2 Points Min. MAIN QUOTES: 6 Point Min. LINKS TO OTHER POEMS: 1 Link Min. IMAGERY: AO2 Similes, Metaphors, Personification... 2 Points Min. LANGUAGE: AO2 Specific Words & Phrases Used To Create Effect; Tone etc. 4 Points Min. CONTEXT: AO3 3 Point Min. WILLIAM BLAKE: A firm believer of equality, who rejected the Church of England, although he was still religious, because of its failure to help child labourers. Blake believed the upper classes were corrupt and exploitative. His poems were anti-authoritarian and he wrote using strong imagery to show the reality of human life, particularly for the poor. ENLIGHTENMENT 1700-1900 (ERA): Massive change and unrest as industrial revolution resulted in huge numbers moving to the cities looking for work. Similar revolutions in France and America. There was scientific progress and the arise of new ideas; democracy, abolition of slavery, social justice and equality. FRENCH REVOLUTION: Influenced by the Enlightenment with its overthrowing of the monarchy and strive for political freedom.  Devolved into blood shed and evil. - Strict ‘ABAB’ rhyme scheme, in quatrains  stanzas of 4 lines each. - The 4 stanzas offer a glimpse of different aspects of the city. = Each stanza is a different ‘screenshot’ of the city seen by the speaker during his “wander thro’ the streets”. >Repetitive stanza structure and rhyme scheme reflect in the relentless, repetitive suffering within the city  Inescapable.< - S1/S2 = Focus on the people who are suffering. S3 = Explores causes of suffering and responsibility. S4 = Returns to focus on those suffering.  Poem ends and begins with same topic. The poet is enforcing a cyclic and repetitive structure, which highlights the inescapable fact of those in the city (Never ending) - Most of the poem is written in Iambic Tetrameter = Lines of 8 syllables with alternating stress syllables.  Repetition of metre is another example of the repetitive, inescapable life of the poor. Some lines have 7 syllables. E.G: Line 4 (‘Marks’ line) The line points out the weakness of those who’re suffering. The line itself is weak in its syllable count since it contains less than the previous lines. Reflective of how the line is lesser/weaker than the others.  Blake is weakening the line to reflect the weakness of those who are suffering. The poem describes a journey around London, offering a glimpse of what the speaker sees as the terrible conditions faced by the inhabitants of the city. Child labour, restrictive laws of poverty and prostitution are all explored in the poem. This poem reveals Blake’s true thoughts about the society he lives in. The speaker makes it very clear that he believes the government to have too much control and society to be too stringent. “The CHIMNEY-SWEEPER’S CRY ” = Suffering child-workers.  Shaming the Church who should be helping those in need. “EVERY BLACK’NING CHURCH APPALS;” = “Appals” (Verb; Go pale with fear) But the Churches went black with smoke and soot. So there’s a contradicting (juxtaposition) of the 2 opposite together. = Showing how both shouldn't be able to exist together.  Suffering the speaker sees in London, he feels is a sign that the Church isn’t doing what it should be. “Blackening Church” = (Literally:) Church building is blackening with smoke from the chimneys of the industrial revolution  Criticism of the industrial revolution. (Metaphorically:) Criticism through colour imagery. – Black symbolises evil and badness. Church is an organisation which should help the poor, but is now blackening with shame for it’s failure to give that help. “And the hapless (unfortunate) Soldier’s sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls.” = (Personification) Responsibility of pointless deaths lies with those in power.  Blake suggests the unhappiness of the British soldiers could lead to a similar uprising if its causes continue to be ignored. “And MARK in every face I meet, MARKS of weakness, MARKS of woe.” = Repetition of MARKS (Noun). Marks has two meanings. 1. Notice every face. 2. Signs of.  Repetition highlights inescapable repetitive sufferings of those in the poem. The use of work with changing the meanings reflect the poet’s frustration at the changing nature of London. = Clearly Blake disagreed with these changes. Shortly after the poem was published he left London, for a few years. “And blights with plagues the MARRIAGE HEARSE” = Overwhelming negative imagery and use of this OXYMORON suggests that what was good (the London of old that Blake loved) is destined to be destroyed. To Blake, marriage should be a celebration of love and the beginning of a new life. Yet, here it is combined with the noun “hearse” – a vehicle associated with funerals. To the speaker of the poem, the future brings nothing but death and decay.  No hope. A powerful ending to a challenging poem, that criticises those in positions of power. Poem shows how the misuse of power leads to widespread suffering and despair. __________________________________________________ MOOD: (Line 9/10) Negative, depicting the horror and Blake’s anger at those that have caused it. An audience (that would have been the educated elite) would have been shocked at the attack on the church and those in power. “In Every” = Anaphora. Emphasises “Every”.  Builds up to final line of the stanza. ”Cry” (Verb) & “Voice” (Noun) = Hearing and seeing misery in London. >Example of PATHOS = A quality that evokes pity or sadness.< “The MIND-FORG’D MANACLES I hear” = (Intertextual reference to Jean-Jacques Rousseau.) Man’s lack of freedom (his chains) are created by themselves (as they are mind forg’d)  The poor are chained and held prisoners by imaginary chains, that external authority (the government) has imposed upon them. (Mind & Manacles= Nouns. Forged = Adjective.) By: Jaskirat Kanwal GCSE English Literature – Poetry Anthology

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