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Compare and control the environment portrayed in the poems London and Sonnet

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Introduction

Compare and control the environment portrayed in the poems 'London' and 'Sonnet' 'Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains'. Rousseau. This quote can relate to both of the poems 'London' by William Blake and 'Sonnet' by John Clare. The poet William Blake greatly admired the French philosopher, Rousseau, and he has made it particularly evident in his poem 'London'. However the ideas portrayed in John Clare's 'Sonnet' contradict Rousseau's statement. Both of these poems describe environments and landscapes, creating contrasting images through the poets' use of descriptive language which is both vivid and imaginative. In the poem 'London', Blake describes a journey around the city of London and offers the readers a view of the terrible conditions that the inhabitants of the city have to face. Some of the topics explored in the poem are: restrictive laws of property, child labour and prostitution. The poem begins by criticizing the laws which relate to ownership. By saying the 'charter'd Thames' Blake is referring to the fact that every aspect of life is owned in London, even the river which is often a symbol of freedom, and an emblem of the power of nature in other poems. Blake also criticizes religion and all of its failures. In his life he rejected religion for various reasons and one of the main ones was the failure of the Church for not helping the children in London, who were forced to work. ...read more.

Middle

'The clear deep lake to stand upon its shore I love the hay grass when the flower swings That sport about the meadow that bright day'. Both poems use different tones to engage the reader and highlight the themes and ideas suggested in them. London explores the harshness and difficulties of the city and the failures of religion and law. Sonnet talks of the country and the beauty of summer and life. The poems are both structured in different ways, to suit the themes evoked in the poems. The use of language also differs between the two poems. 'London' is in a collection of Blake's poems called the Songs of Experience, which are intended to provide contrast and illustrate the effects of modern life on people and nature. As the title of the collection suggests 'London' is presented in a very regular way, like a song. There is a strict abab rhyme scheme throughout the poem. There are four, four lined stanzas. These stanzas are like snapshots seen by Blake during his 'wander thro' the streets, and offer a glimpse of different aspects of the city. "How the Chimney-sweeper's cry, Every blackening Church appalls, And the hapless Soldier's sigh, Runs in blood down Palace walls." 'Sonnet' is written in verse form which was developed in Italy in the 14th century, but still used today. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could mean two things. It could refer to the actual physical marks that people carried as a result of the conditions they had to endure or of Blake 'marking' evidence during his walk through the city streets. "Marks of weakness, marks of woe." In stanza two, in the first three lines, the word "every" is repeated and this seems that the poet is trying to make it clear that "every" one is affected by the problems faced. Also it's like everyone's minds are restricted and confined through the 'mind-forg'd manacles'- That the city has taken away their will to think. "In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear:" The poem is very pessimistic and filled with many negative words like 'cry' 'fear' and 'blood' Sounds are important in the poem and represent the great noises of the city as the poet "wanders thro" it. There are cries, the sound of "mind-forg'd manacle" and curses. These sounds are all the result of anguish and pain. The poem then closes with a surprising contrast in language- "marriage hearse". Marriage is a celebration of the beginning of new life and love. However, it is written with the word hearse and so it reveals that the poet believes that the only outcome of the future is death and decay. Both poems use very different styles of language. Sonnet is an optimistic poem and with a lot of hope and happiness. London is very pessimistic, devoid of hope for the future. ...read more.

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