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"Blake saw that there were many restrictions in his society; his voice is the voice of freedom" By close reference to at least four poems show how Blake uses his poetry to examine freedom and restrictions.

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Introduction

"Blake saw that there were many restrictions in his society; his voice is the voice of freedom" By close reference to at least four poems show how Blake uses his poetry to examine freedom and restrictions. The four poems that I have chosen all come from the collections of poems by William Blake, 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience'. All four poems display various restrictions in his society that he evidently disagreed with. Consequently Blake discusses these themes in his poetry. Blake uses the poem 'The Schoolboy' to illustrate the restraints of school. In 'The Little Black Boy', Blake demonstrates the social view on skin colour and how black people are portrayed to be inferior to white people. In 'London' Blake writes about restriction of the mind. Blake is describing how depressing the streets of London are because nobody is free. The fourth poem that I examined by Blake, 'The Garden of Love' demonstrates Blake's feelings on growing up and the fact that most bad things are not visible to young children who are happy and free. He expresses that as soon as they grow up the world is full of restrictions and regulations, 'thou shalt not'. ...read more.

Middle

Slavery influenced Blake's writing in 'Little Black Boy' because slavery and prejudice towards black people was an issue when the poem was written. Religion is an important theme in 'The Little Black Boy'. The child's mother is teaching him a lesson about God, love and how to value nature, 'Look on the rising sun! There God does live'. She teaches him to look forward to an improved life after death, 'For when our souls have learned the heat to bear The cloud will vanish; we shall hear his voice'. The black boy accepts his mother's view on God and life and what he is taught, ' To lean in joy upon our father's knee,' and 'be like him, and he will then love me.' The language used in this poem is of a biblical tone, which seems appropriate, as God and religion are main themes of the poem. This language is powerful because it is used to provoke emotions of pity and anger for the reader. There is a simple 'ABAB' rhyme scheme, which suggests that the author is dealing with the complexes message in subtle ways. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reason for this is that Blake again wants to accentuate the restrictions of the church and how the 'Garden of Love' has changed into a place of organised religion. Rural images are also used in 'London', Blake writes 'where the chartered Thames does flow,' the word 'chartered' is effective because it emphasises that a natural river is not free. The word 'chartered' is repeated in the poem to highlight the restricted city and the minds of the people in London. 'Marks of weakness, marks of woe,' suggests that people have been scarred as a result of the restrictions and indicate that it is a depressing and miserable place. Death and implications of this subject are referred to in many of Blake's poems that I have studied. In 'London' the words 'marriage hearse' connect the happy idea of marriage with an element of death. This proves to be powerful in emphasizing that everything is restricted in London. There is a theme of death in the 'Garden of Love' when Blake mentions that the garden was 'filled with graves' and that there was 'tombstones where flowers should be'. In 'The Little Black Boy' the boy believes that he will feel better when he is dead and with God, 'Lean in joy upon our father's knee'. ...read more.

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