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English Literature Commentary

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Stephanie Hung Wendel English Literature (IB6) 21 September, 2007 'The Crystal Cabinet' is an outstanding example of Blake's use of an alternative reality to evoke readers to contemplate the boundaries of their society in light of knowledge about another world where these boundaries do not exist. Through the poem which was written just after the French Revolution, Blake offers the extreme of human experiences; as the central metaphor of the poem symbolizes a deep human truth which can be adopted with his poem, 'London'. The poem's simple goal is to tell a story and share a wisdom. The poem contains seven stanzas, several stanzas containing a different world and a different boundary; within each stanza one is able to find a rhyme scheme which closely follows a broken dactylic tetrameter. The Crystal Cabinet's seven stanzas forms a superstructure upon which the story elements can be intertwined, and imagination can be overlaid as deeper themes of Blake's philosophy can be also be embedded. The first stanza is the main and central metaphor which one should focus on as it unfolds line by line before connecting with the second stanza to further evoke readers on the different dimensions and boundaries. ...read more.


Thus, allowing one to see the desperate desire that the narrator must have towards a peaceful world, a peaceful life that is not full of danger and fearfulness. Through this poem which catapults the reader into a realm of the persona's imagination, Blake description and different realm throughout the fifth stanza is a world containing 'love', for which was given and returned. This particular stanza differs from the first four as it is filled with joy, happiness and love, without having a halt. 'O, the happiness and joy for which fulfilled my soul as though a flame being burnt, no composition, no question, I seek the love as I kiss the lovely 'Maid' and found that the love I seek was returned.' Notice the 'Maid' in the third line of this stanza, is capitalized, which in terms represents something more than just a maid we understand in modern day, for this 'Maid' is not one who cleans up after our mess, but a context used metaphorically to describe a woman in particular, a woman whom the persona is trapped with respects and cares about, perhaps a lover. ...read more.


is no happiness, no other dimension that is capable of allowing one to escape reality forever, as the persona is born into a world 'fill'd with woes the passing wind'. In conclusion, this crystal cabinet symbolizes a unique opportunity to unfold meaning and explore further into those minds of the nineteenth century. Using the metaphorical visionary/images to help set a stage for a greater understanding of the environment, situation and journey for which is also a realization of the philosophy of William Blake. This poem is independent, yet linked through the narrative, using color scheme and the re-use of objects and words from other narrative elements, these different realms of world's and spaces produces a unique, harmonic, and fearful resonance to viewers. It is when the four-fold vision is sought as the Crystal Cabinet breaks, in the seventh and final stanza, summing up everything the poem means and has stood for, is returned back to the original place and location for which they had entered, in the town squares of London. Here, the readers experience has thus triggered a new perception of London, as this perception is the perception seen through the eyes of William Blake himself. Word Count: 1,534 ?? ?? ?? ?? Hung 1 ...read more.

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