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Compare Upon Westminster Bridge and London

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Introduction

Mieke Gadd English Literature Compare Upon Westminster Bridge and London, by William Wordswoth, and William Blake. London and Upon Westminster Bridge are two poems composed in the British industrial era. The two poems look at London from two very different places and states of mind. Blake, who wrote London, is taking a walk through the underprivileged fraction of London and documenting what he sees. His blunt delivery of the city was new and controversial for its time and his dislike of how the city is laid out is particularly intriguing and obviously broadcasted. Conversely Wordsworth has a much more optimistic view upon the capital, and his sightings are documented in a much brighter and less confrontational manor. His opinions were acknowledged when he was on a buggy ride through the city in the early morning. He ordered his driver to stop, as the view was too good for him not to write. His version of the city upholds his romantic reputation and his rose coloured glasses have almost dictated his writing of Upon Westminster Bridge. Wordsworth played a major role in the Romantic Movement and his writing was written to please, this could explain why his poem is so light hearted. Wordsworth wrote about nature, and upholding a relationship with nature. Upon Westminster Bridge is describing a rural setting and Wordsworth manages to successfully describe thus metropolis as a serene and naturalistic setting. ...read more.

Middle

Blake uses his controlled and blunt manor to convey his feelings about the city and to raise hairs of those high in society. It was written to be controversial and he makes sure that everything about it is frank. Both of the poets use very similar types of figurative language but by using them in different ways they paint two very different pictures of London. Blake has put his poem into four very concise and restricted stanzas. The poem follows a very precise ABAB rhyming pattern and follows a non-changing rhythm. In the first two lines of the poem Blake writes "I wonder through each chartered street, where the chartered Themes does flow" setting up his idea that London is too structured and mapped and that there is no freedom or flexibility. Blake's controlled manor is a very effective way to fully drill the idea that London is no longer free into its readers mind. Also, he refers to the Thames as chartered. The Thames is a free flowing river and it is an organic and natural occurrence. Making a river chartered and restricted is unnatural and goes against nature. By doing this Blake has shown the extent that London went to into the business sense of mind. In Upon Westminster Bridge Wordsworth uses many adjectives to give the city a royal status. For instance the uses of words such as "majesty" and "mighty" have very regal and noble connotations giving the city a sense of true strength. ...read more.

Conclusion

For instance, in the line, 'all bright and glittering in the smokeless air' Wordsworth uses three powerful adjectives to create an image of clear air. By making the air 'smokeless' was an incredible insight for the time of the poem being written as London was in an industrial revolution meaning that much smoke was being produced daily. By using the words 'bright and glittering' Wordsworth is glamorising the city, this can link to the modern day as nowadays London is seen as a bright lights, big city and is constantly bright and glittering. It is clearly obvious that both poems have different tones with London being completely pessimistic and Upon Westminster Bridge being at the other end of the scale. Blake's negative take on the city is accurate to the journey of his poem, with him walking through the less privileged part of the city and noting his views, but similarly Wordsworth completely contrasting views of the city do coincide with his journey of looking out at the city very early in the morning. So even though the tones of the poems are different the evidence for these tones is completely similar. I truly like both poems but I slightly prefer the structure of London as it follows a regular rhyming pattern and the metaphors and imagery techniques are stronger and more interesting. I think that both poems have achieved what they wanted to and both are written with true emotion plus both poems show the highs and the lows of the industrial era effectively. Both true great poems of the industrial revolution. ...read more.

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