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How do the poets, Blake, and Wordsworth present children in their poems, "The Schoolboy" and "The Prelude (1): The boat stealing episode"?

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Introduction

How do the poets, William Blake, and William Wordsworth present children in their poems, "The Schoolboy" and "The Prelude (1): The boat stealing episode"? In this essay I will be trying to answer the question, "How do the poets William Blake and William Wordsworth present children in their poems, "The Schoolboy" and "The Prelude (1): The boat stealing episode". Both Blake and Wordsworth talk about poems in many of their poems and talk about them in many ways. Blake looks at the pros and cons of life as a child in the 1800's, whereas Wordsworth tends to focus on children who are happy and free and how there lives are affected by this. In the poem "The school boy" William Blake presents children as lovers of nature who should be free and not trapped in a school room when he writes, "When the birds sing on every tree", these words show that the child appreciates the beauty of nature. The poem is about a school boy who is felling very happy and "loves to rise in a summer morn" which shows he loves nature. ...read more.

Middle

Blake uses metaphors to present children, and the contrast that school has with nature. In the poem children are compared to caged birds when Blake writes, "How can the cag'd bird that is born for joy, sit in a cage and sing?" This metaphor shows that children, like birds should be free and not trapped in school like a bird in a cage. I think Blake uses a bird to compare the child to because birds are a symbol of freedom. Blake also compares children to flowers when he writes, "If buds are nip'd and blossoms blown away and if tender plants are stripped of their joy in the springing day, by sorrow and cares dismay". This metaphor presents children as delicate buds and plants and if these are damaged in their early life then they can wither away and not achieve anything in life. Blake uses the poem "The school boy" to show that children do not want to learn at schools and instead if given the choice would choose to learn about life and nature by themselves and through experience. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also has less rhyming features than in the schoolboy which is shown in, "One summer evening (led by her) I found A little boat tied to a willow tree", This could represent the differences of freedom between young Wordsworth, who is free with nature, and the schoolboy who has education forced upon him. At a time of great repression of children the structure of the boat stealing episode conveys a sense of freedom within the child, which is a huge contrast with other children of the time. In both poems children are presented as nature lovers and still having a lot to learn about the world. In the story of the boat stealing episode from "The Prelude", the child is shown to be free whereas in "The Schoolboy" children have education forced upon them. In both poems children are learning in different ways and the poems show the effectiveness of each type of education. In The Schoolboy the child is bored and dislikes school, so is unlikely to learn well, whereas in the boat stealing episode, the child learns a hard and meaningful lesson, which he is unlikely to forget. ...read more.

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