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GCSE: William Blake
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Blake and the Romantics
- 1 Blake along with Wordsworth, Keats, Byron and Coleridge are all associated with the Romantic movement in Europe in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
- 2 The Romantics sympathised with the 'common man' and supported the American and French revolutions.
- 3 Considered mad in his lifetime Blake was a seminal figure in the poetry and art of the Romantic age and some of his poetry has been said to be 'prophetic'.
- 4 Some critics have said that Blake is 'far and away the greatest artist Britain ever produced'.
- 5 Blake, along with other Romantics hated what the industrial revolution had done to Britain's cities especially London and idealised the countryside.
Blake's ideas and expression
- 1 Blake had progressive ideas and saw visions of angels throughout his life. He was deeply philosophical and mystical he was very religious but criticised organised religion.
- 2 He was a member of the free love movement and likened some marriages to slavery saying that marriage was 'legalised prostitution'.
- 3 In Songs of Innocence and Experience Blake embraced the standard Romanticism of the innocence of childhood.
- 4 In the Songs of Experience Blake shows how innocence is lost by fear, political, social and economic corruption and how people are oppressed by the church, government and the ruling classes.
- 5 Blake illustrated the poems themselves and they follow the ideas of Milton's Paradise Lost and the fall which he had illustrated previously.
Things to consider when writing essays on Blake's work
- 1 Blake's poems are deceptively simple but contain strong symbolism and liberal messages concealed within their regular structure and rhyme schemes.
- 2 Focus on the question by referring to it in the introduction, conclusion and by writing topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph.
- 3 Analyse and do not describe the content of the poem.
- 4 Make sure all poetry terminology is accurate to demonstrate understanding of poetic techniques.
- 5 Always consider what you know of Blake's life and strongly held beliefs - the themes of social conditions, the poor, corruption, industrialisation, the church and marriage are present in all of his poems.
It is an expression of the elation and wonder felt at the birth of a tiny baby. The scene is one of tranquillity - a mother gently cradling her child at her breast. The poem could possibly be narrated by the mother in which case she addresses her tiny infant, only thoughts of tenderness and love consuming her and is delighted in the joy of her motherhood. The infant is embracing its new life and surroundings, proclaiming to the world his arrival of only two days before. The tone is of happiness and optimism that the infant will always be happy.
- Word count: 1882
The themes in this poem are of repression and greed, these are shown by how the children are being used to up the churches reputation by "helping" the children, and also how the church have used there power take and use the children. The structure of the of the poem keeps the poem in short basic line of words, sort of like how a small child would think, this put's you in a child's shoes and make you feel more empathy for them.
- Word count: 1823
This line outlines city's wealth and businesslike atmosphere. The city seems quite unlike the celestial image that Wordsworth once created. It is owned by man, not God and seems rigid and ruthless. 'Mark' means notice, it is also the name of Jesus' disciple, and marking work or maps. 'Marks of weakness, marks of woe.' The word 'marks' is repeated to emphasize these meanings. This repetition, thudding and oppressive, also reflects the suffocating atmosphere of the city. The voice of experience appears to come through, noticing marks on people, physical scars and signs of poverty, sing and slavery.
- Word count: 996
William Blake - Blake is angry and critical about the attitude and values of the society he lives in.(TM)
Another thing represented heavily in his poems is his anger and disagreement with the exploitation of children in the chimney sweeping trade, the corruption and strict beliefs of the Church of England, the strong authority towards children in education that he believed stripped them of their creativity and lastly the cruelty and sadness he saw in the society of London at the time. Blake's anger at the exploitation of children is something that is shown very strongly in both the innocence and experience versions of "The Chimney Sweeper" poem.
- Word count: 3008
Blake, being the rare few of many in England, became aware of these faults. His views were similar to our contemporary day. Many writers were moved by the industrial revolution. They felt it was important to shine light on the poor conditions of the working class and use of child labour. This change changed the attitudes of those living in England, many rich well off people became ignorant towards the conditions many poor, lower class, people were facing. The attitude of many high class people was apparent as growth and human spirit was not possible under conditions of social oppression.
- Word count: 4629
How does Blake comment on the society and the institutions of his time through Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence?
Blake brings to light both the monarchy's and the church's poor image of supposed caring authority figures for people to turn to at times of need. The Church also has a poor moral image in "The Garden of Love". The Church seems to withdraw its policy of freedom and salvation when Blake depicts the appearance of the chapel: "And the gates of this chapel were shut And "though shall not" writ over the door."
- Word count: 1119
An employer could pay a child less than an adult, and children were useful for more jobs, for example when Blake wrote "The Chimney Sweeper". In both of "The Chimney Sweeper" poems, Blake attacks the treatment of children at the time. The first one, in Songs of Innocence, shows a na�ve view of how a child at the time felt. The first three stanzas are negative, starting with "When my mother died when I was very young," and describing, "thousands of sweepers" were "lock'd up in coffins of black".
- Word count: 1575
It puts the rest of the poem into an idyllic, dreamlike context, giving a slightly surreal edge to the verses that follow. The final line "And all the hills ecchoed", could be seen as a use of pathetic fallacy in that the children are laughing and shouting, and the hills 'echo' them - everything in this idealistic world is content and perfect, a utopia of purity, trust and openness. "The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd", this list is presented in a puerile fashion, further illustrating the concept of innocence in the nurse herself.
- Word count: 1187
It is almost a direct antithesis of Songs of Innocence. This can be seen in Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience) when Blake writes "... is that trembling cry a song? Can it be a song of joy? And so many children poor..." This phrase takes something associated with joy i.e. a song, and transforms it into a "...trembling cry..." whilst highlighting the poverty and oppression of the situation. Songs of Experience also seems to take any slight existence of innocence, and transforms it into ignorance.
- Word count: 1699
Songs on Innocence was Blake's first collection and it demonstrates how people are often blind to their own reality. Most songs are from the viewpoint of a child implying their innocence. This can be seen in 'the Chimney Sweeper' where it is written: 'When my mother died I was very young.' He portrays childhood in his poems by using several devices such as questions and answers, child-like style to create a naive mood and depicts the world as a happy and peaceful place. Whereas in Songs of Experience explains how society really was and how children where treated. Blake focuses on the world from an adult's point of view and portrays the image of the world as a fearful and anxious place.
- Word count: 2182
How does Blake use 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' to express his view on society of his day and its institutions? (such as Child Labour, Parenting, the Church and Education)
Blake would have hoped that adults would enter the world of experience but someday return to innocence and protect the children. The world of experience to Blake was inevitable yet a harsh, cruel and unhappy place full of restrictions and frustration. Blake suggests in his poems that people and children are not in control of their own lives, they are not allowed to think for themselves and are restricted by society. Blake displays his views on child labour in his poems entitled 'The Chimney Sweeper'.
- Word count: 2054
Another phrase that adds to this is the sentence 'Wise guardians to the poor'. There is further reference to the good work that the guardians are doing when William Blake uses the term 'Multitudes of lambs' implying the guardians are shepherding and guiding innocent creatures. The idea of lambs conjures up the image of animals all grouped together making sure that they are all safe. The orphans are referred to as flowers in the second paragraph, implying delicate, natural and beautiful.
- Word count: 1455
William Blake begins his poem, commenting about the "fearful" tiger. It is a beast, a creature - which lives in the negative side of the human soul, in the dark shadows of life. Blake explores the wonders of God, the "immortal hand or eye," created such a ferocious creature. The fearful 'symmetry' refers to the excellence of proportion, and the wild, frightening characteristics and physical features of the tiger. The poet praises God, elucidating the difficulty in conceptualizing each aspect of the tiger. As the poem progresses, Blake uses the metaphor of fire to demonstrate the way the tiger sees, and its vision.
- Word count: 687
The first two lines in the first stanza seemingly represent's a form of innocence, a new born into a new world that deserved a celebration which is where and why Blake uses the term "merrily". However, one notices the semi-colon after the "merrily" as it drifts further away from the supposed celebration, as the narrator's 'Maiden' puts the persona into a cabinet and "lock'd me up with a golden key"; the poems happiness and joy thus comes to a dramatic halt.
- Word count: 1559
The children will like the London Eye because they can get a bird's eye view of London, seeing the main attractions and landmarks over London. They can also get the chance to see a different view of London. The hotel I would recommend for the family the Hilton London Metropole. The prices start at about �54 per person per night. The hotel would suit the family; this is because it is only a five-minute walk from Paddington station and is fifteen minutes away from Heathrow Airport.
- Word count: 768
In 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion' Blake shows blatant disrespect towards the church by discussion the 'mouldering church yard'. Blake was seen as somewhat revolutionary as his opinions directly opposed those of the Church. He believed that the body and soul are one and the Church is incorrect in believing that 'Man has two real existing principles, Viz: a Body & a Soul' (from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). Also in Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Blake discusses his opinion that 'are not different joys Holy, eternal, infinite?
- Word count: 1308
This showed his hostility towards authority and order. The two poems that I am going to analyse are The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence and The Garden Of Love from Songs of Experience. I think these are two good examples of William Blake expressing his views of the society in his day and its institutions. In 'The Chimney Sweeper' he comments on the dreadful government that allowed child slavery, which again shows his hostility towards authority - in this case the government. He explains the dreadful working conditions of a small child who was sold by his father for money and who says, "weep" instead of sweep because he is so young.
- Word count: 2787
Blake was writing about the city as he pictured it at the time. However, London was a much smaller city back then, and the countryside south of the river Thames is now the suburbs of south London. He is furious at the authorities and hates the way poverty in London is steadily increasing. Around this time the French revolution is going on in France, Blake is also a supporter of their struggle for democracy. Blake describes 'London' as if the government with their corrupt, restrictive laws controlled it! The quote of the 'chartered streets' tells us that the rich were given charters, which allowed them to control the streets of London.
- Word count: 2039
This could explain why he writes so negatively in his poem of London. Upon Westminster Bridge was written by William Wordsworth on September 3rd 1802. William Blake wrote London between 1757 and 1827. Both poems are about London, but they have very different views of the city. Blake tries to convince the reader that London is a place of restriction, monotony and corruption. Where as Wordsworth conveys the idea that London is the most beautiful place on Earth. From the very beginning, Blake presents London as being chartered and restricted. Blake is suggesting that the river and the streets are owned which creates a sense of legalism to something which should be free and non restrictive.
- Word count: 1543
The bus seems not to notice and lazily pulls up regardless. Hurriedly the crowd of people that has hastily gathered step onto the bus and search frantically for seats before the bus lurches forward and continues its usual journey towards the underground tube station. On arrival at our stop we almost fall out of the bus and spill into the station. We slot our tickets into the machine, push through the barrier and begin our descent down some steps that look as if they are the original ones built in January 1863.
- Word count: 996
However, whilst Wordsworth's poem is attracting you to London, Blake's intention was to make was to make people, mainly the rich, realise and become aware of the poverty the poor live in. "A mark in every face I meet, marks of weakness, marks of woe" this shows all people living in London are in the same position and everyone is the same. They are marked by physical poverty and emotional poverty. The word "marked" suggests that the citizens of London are actually scarred by living their, and scarred from the different types of poverty.
- Word count: 2485
The poet is writing about something he's experienced first hand, something real that will have affected him personally. The reader will notice this and understand that this is something real that is affecting the writer, and could be something that affects them - possibly exciting the reader. The poems Ozymandias and The Sick Rose employ the same technique. Blake writes the latter poem as an Apostrophe, and to the audience 200 years ago it would have attracted some attention, not because this concept of writing was unusual to them, but because it's a personal and intimate thing to share and they would have been interested in what Blake had to say as a result.
- Word count: 2101
London ist eine historische Stadt, die im Jahr 50 A.D. London hat ungefahr 7,619,000 Einwohner. Der Fluss Thames fleist durch London. Der Fluss Thames ist der grosste Fluss in England. Jedes Neujahr in der Mitternacht ist dort eine Feuerwerksk�rper-Anzeige in London, das ist fantastich! Das Feuerwerk ist sch�n und sehr bunt.
- Word count: 271
A comparison of 'London' by William Blake and 'Composed Upon Wesminster Bridge' By William Wordsworth
By using this line he's saying he hasn't felt or seen anything so calm and peaceful. He likes what he's seeing as if God is in everything he sees. His poetry is very much so about nature which reflects his personality as he was too a naturist and a pantheist meaning God is in everything. "Nature is God's imagination made real" Wordsworth. It seems obvious Wordsworth is talking about creation in his poetry, like the day when God created people, fields and all things that are beautiful and natural.
- Word count: 1831
Another issue raised here, is that Caribbean literature has for many years been male dominated. Just as the colonizer sought to ignore and marginalize their savage 'Other' so the Caribbean male has ignored their female counterpart. Opal Palmer Adisa, in exploring this issue, believes that it is "out of this patriarchal structure, designed to make her an object, part of the landscape to be used and discarded as seen fit by the colonizer, that the Caribbean woman has emerged."2 It was out of such a 'patriarchal structure' that Jean Rhys and Una Marson emerged.
- Word count: 8468