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Discuss the importance and evocation of place in the poems "London" by William Blake and "Callaloo" by Merle Collins.

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Introduction

In the following text I would like to discuss the importance and evocation of place in the poems "London" by William Blake and "Callaloo" by Merle Collins. At first, I want to examine the poems with regard to their form and structure. After that, I would like to give you some information about the author and a detailed analysis of their poems. Next, I want to examine the stylistic devices that are used. Finally, I want to discuss the meaning of place in "London" and "Callaloo". The poem "London" was written by William Blake in 1794. He was the son of a draper from Westminster and was born on 28th November 1757 and the third of five children. His father could only afford to give William enough schooling to learn the basics of reading and writing, though for a short time he was able to attend a drawing school run by Henry Par. William Blake worked in his father's shop until his talent for drawing became so obvious that he was apprenticed to engraver James Basire at the age of 14. He finished his apprenticeship at the age of 21, and set out to make his living as an engraver. Blake married Catherine Boucher at the age of 25, and she worked with him on most of his artistic creations. Together they published a book of Blake's poems and drawing called "Songs of Innocence". ...read more.

Middle

As in many of Blake's poems, the language is simple but the meaning is not immediately obvious, due to the enigmatic imagery he uses. "London", is obviously a sorrowful poem. In the first two stanzas, Blake utilizes alliterations (line 4: "Marks of..., marks of...") to emphasise the meaning of this line. Many of the words in Blake's poem have more than one meaning. In the first line he talks of London's "charter'd streets". "Chartered" can be interpreted to mean responsibility of the church or state; on the other side of the coin it can be use to mean licentious and freely immoral. Taken in context with the rest of the poem I consider it to mean freely immoral as further in the poem he alludes to prostitution, and other such corrupt activities. The repetition of words like "every" and "cry" (line 5-7) in the second stanza shows that he is haunted by all the misery he has witnessed, and his intention is obviously to arouse the reader's concern. He wants to symbolise the depression the depression that hovers over the entire society. The "mind-forged manacles" (line 8) the narrator hears suggest that he is not mentally stable. The third stanza contains two metaphors parallel to each other: the black colour of the church stands for the guilt of the Church as an institution; and the blood running "down Palace walls" suggests that the State (the King living in the Palace) ...read more.

Conclusion

The structure of this poem is quiet regular. There is a lack of punctuation what keeps a continuous rhythm throughout the poem. The length of lines is not regular, unlike in the poem of Blake. The first stanza comprises 16 lines. I guess the background of this poem is the Revolution in Grenada of 1979 to 1983. Grenada had nearly always been a plantation economy, which involved the large scale production of agricultural commodities, generally for export markets. It employed lot of unskilled labourers under the direction of a few highly-skilled supervisors. The nation was ripe for change: the workers had always been denied the access to land so that they could be employed cheaply in the service of the plantations and estates, rather than working their own private plots. This process of exploitation, dubbed "plantation slavery", kept the population relatively docile for years. However, as its hold on the populace dwindled, and more of the masses attained some form of education, dissatisfaction arose, and an indigenous "intelligentsia" was born that gave rise to the Grenada Revolution and led it to fruition. I guess the poem "Callaloo" is about this theme. The people live in poverty and slavery there. Here you can see the parallel between the poems. Both are about poor people that are in this situation because of the government. Although the poems were written in different centuries they are about nearly the same topic, about the conditions and circumstances the people had to cope with. Historical events that took place in the area the poem is about play an important role. Anne Kolouschek 12 MA -1- ...read more.

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