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Vulnerability is one of the key themes that is explored throughout Blakes poetry Songs of Innocence and of Experience and Atwoods text The Handmaids Tale.

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Blake and Atwood write about vulnerability Vulnerability is one of the key themes that is explored throughout Blake's poetry 'Songs of Innocence and of Experience' and Atwood's text 'The Handmaid's Tale'. However each author chooses to portray vulnerability through different means. Atwood emphasises on the vulnerability of women in a dystopian society whereas Blake focuses on the vulnerability of children and their transition from innocence to experience. 'The Chimney-Sweeper' from Song of Innocence demonstrates how adults exploit vulnerable young children. Similar to 'The Handmaid's Tale' this poem is written in the first person this allows the author to expose the characters' vulnerabilities through their personal thoughts and feelings. The narrator in 'The Chimney-Sweeper' is a child who has been sold into slavery. Through this poem Blake illustrates how vulnerable children are. The enjambment of "yet my tongue Could scarcely cry" demonstrates how the child was too young to speak for himself when he was sold; it shows how the child had to rely on his father to protect him, which he failed to do. The chimney sweepers lack any rights, "when his head... was shaved" the verb "shaved in this sentence emphasises that the children are at the mercy of those in charge and this means that they are vulnerable to mistreatment. ...read more.

Middle

chimney sweepers in the former and women in the latter,. "London" concerns various different people from soldiers to babies. In the last stanza of the poem it becomes clear in the extract "youthful harlot's" that the theme of the poem shows the difference between the innocence and experience. "infant's" in the next sentence further emphasises this idea and the contrast of "curse" and "tear" in the sentences shows how the innocent and experienced deal with negative factors in their life, the "curse" indicates an angry feeling towards the world whereas "tear" whilst negative as well denotes a more pathetic feeling and shows how the innocent are not used to what is occurring and despair at their loss of innocence. In the first stanza the repetition of "chartered" is similar to the sentence "prayers well out from the machines and disappear again through the slot" from "The Handmaid's Tale" and they both imply the regulation of what is happening in society and how the exploitation is now mechanical and, particularly in Atwood's writing, how people can easily be replaced. This is a contradiction to how both authors view the world and this is one similarity that both authors share and is used to accentuate the themes in their texts. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both texts also use the structure of society to explain the vulnerability in each of the characters. The difference is that in "London" the narrator is not affected by what is occurring they are merely describing what they see whereas in the novel the narrator is describing what she is experiencing therefore allowing a more descriptive view on the vulnerability of the character and how she cannot escape from it. Both William Blake and Margaret Atwood have both used their own feelings and opinions on life to emphasise and exaggerate the plots of their poems and books, respectively. The common feature is that both contradict their opinions within their book to make the themes more suited. For example Atwood reverses her opinion on feminism in "The Handmaid's Tale "to really show the vulnerability of women and how easy it is to take advantage of them." Similarly Blake uses religion in his poems to demonstrate how religion makes people more vulnerable, which makes them being exploited. Another common feature is that the vulnerability featured in the texts and the two poems is that the vulnerability is viewed negatively however in the second extract from Atwood's novel the vulnerability that the two characters show in revealing themselves ends positively therefore showing that vulnerability is not always a negative thing. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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