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Compare and contrast the different images of London contained in the two poems 'London Snow' and 'London'.

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Introduction

London Compare and contrast the different images of London contained in the two poems 'London Snow' and 'London'. 'London Snow' presents an image of happiness, playfulness and excitement; however 'London' is its antithesis, with nothing but doom, gloom, sadness and death. 'London Snow' was written by Robert Bridges (1844 - 1930) and 'London' was written by William Blake (1757 - 1827). The dates when these people lived are arguably important. Generally speaking, life was better when Bridges was alive than when Blake was alive. Bridges may have lived during the most brutal and destructive event the world has ever seen in the shape of World War 1, however domestically life had improved until 1914, for example the Liberal government of the early 1900s tried to help the poor and the elderly. This improvement of lifestyle could explain the extreme differences between the poems, and why Bridges poem is happier, as I believe the poem was written round about 1900. The normal day-to day life of London is very busy and rushed, and the city itself is quite polluted, and as previously mentioned, the noise is very loud due to cars, factories etc. Small problems such as this can affect people's morale and happiness, but there are certain things that can at least temporarily make people feel a bit happier, can add a spring to their step, and the below quote is a perfect example of this. ...read more.

Middle

The word 'manacles' is an important one, as this emphasizes how people have no space to think or voice opinions as their mind is restrained. An important piece of imagery is the soldier's blood down the palace walls. This could suggest that a soldier died trying to defend the palace, died whilst just doing his job and is the epitome of the widespread unhappiness within London. The black imagery created by the Chimney sweeper ties in with the red blood, with black and red being the colours of hell and in this case, representing London. This imagery is a stark contrast towards the image of London in the poem 'London Snow': "Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling, They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing; Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees; Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder, 'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!' The over-riding theme of this quote is happiness. The boys were playing, chucking snowballs, completely immersed within the snow with no care in the world. To them it must have been as if they had died in the normal London and taken off to a better, more heavenly place. ...read more.

Conclusion

The colour contrast between the two poems is important. 'London Snow' has the white colour of snow for a while, therefore stressing its likeness to heaven. 'London' has the black and red colours of hell, stressing its likeness to hell. This can be a comparison and a contrast as both poems use colour to relate London to better or worse places, but both poems also use different colours. There are also a few contrasts between the two poems however. 'London Snow' tries to portray a sense of happiness, however, all good things come to an end and sure enough, this was temporary. However, this is better than the continual sense of sadness portrayed in the poem 'London'. The times when these poems were written are roughly a century apart, and although their image of London remains very similar, there are some important differences caused by the snow, as London is represented as a beautiful, almost perfect place in 'London Snow'. However I would imagine that William Blake could never foresee a time when London could possibly be referred to as such, given the unhappiness of everyone within and the lack of hope for the future. The beautiful London imagery did not last too long though, before the unhappiness and pollution of everyday life crept back into the poem to break the magical spell placed on London by the snow. Jamie Pender 5-3 Mr. Kilpatrick ...read more.

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