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Compare and contrast the three portrayals of London in Blake's "London", Wordsworth's "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and Johnson's "Inglan Is A Bitch".

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the three portrayals of London in Blake's "London", Wordsworth's "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and Johnson's "Inglan Is A Bitch". In "London", Blake creates the image that London is a very grim place. He describes it, as having mapped out streets, even the river Thames is not flowing along its natural route, the whole place is unnatural, and false. All Blake can see is misery everywhere. This is made very clear by the repetition of the word "every": "In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear." He uses repetition to get the message across that he sees real misery everywhere he looks, and in everything he hears. It gets the message into your mind. Also, "in every ban" is a public declaration, saying that everything about the place is made so that people are miserable. Blake goes on to say how London is a very dirty place; "black'ning church appals" creates the image of dirt being everywhere, even on churches, which are normally seen as places that are not left to get dirty. ...read more.

Middle

This maybe begins to explain why these poems, of the same time, show contrasting views about London. Johnson's poem, "Inglan is a Bitch", takes a very different approach to London. It is written from his own experiences of life in London. Like Blake, he greatly dislikes London. He says that the people wanted to hide him, because he was black, and so they made him work on the underground. He felt that he was treated badly, and unfairly no matter what he did, or how hard he tried. He was given all the jobs that other people didn't want, for example, dishwasher in a hotel. He says how there was never any time for clock watching, as he was always made too do work. He dislikes it how people take money that he has rightly earned away by tax. There are many more examples of what he is made to do, for very little money. To make the audience realise what has happened to him, he uses refrains. Each time, the last line changes, from saying that you can't escape the fact that England is a bitch, to how he can't sleep because he worries about how he is going to ...read more.

Conclusion

It is clear therefore, that the three poems here are all very different. They do all show the views of the poets writing them, but they all have a very different effect. Blake's poem is very critical of London, by saying that it is a dark, dirty and miserable place to be. Even the river is unnatural. Wordsworth's poem is very positive about London. He says that he has never seen somewhere that is as beautiful. There is not a hint of criticism in the poem. Johnson's poem is very negative, like Blake's, but in a different way. He feels that London has treated him unfairly, that is why he does not like it. It is not what it looks like that bothers him. Blake, and Wordsworth wrote in the 19th Century, looking at London from the outside. They write about the image that it left them with. Johnson, writing in the 20th Century, tells us about his personal experiences in London, and the effect that that had on him. This means that there is a very different approach to Johnson's poem. The poem that I find most effective is Johnson's poem, as it is light hearted, with some humour, whilst still making you think about what he is saying, and understanding why he wrote the poem. Sam Coley 11H ...read more.

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