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Two aspects of London as shown through a response to poems by Blake and Wordsworth.

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Hannah Taylor English Coursework 3rd September 2001 Two aspects of London as shown through a response to poems by Blake and Wordsworth. When comparing Blake and Wordsworth's pieces, the respective perspectives of the authors should never be far from our thoughts. Whereas Blake lived in London his whole life and seldom ventured outside its borders, Wordsworth was a rural person whose only experiences of London came from short visits. Unaccustomed to the hustle and bustle of City life, Wordsworth led a comparatively relaxed existence which perhaps accounts for his romantic and gentile style. We should not be surprised to see that Blake, a frequenter of the less-desirable districts of the capital, offers a far more cynical portrayal of London. ...read more.


Repetition is clearly employed when the piece claims: "In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear" The repetition could be equated with anything from the machinery at work in the factories and mills, to an assault of stabbing pain upon those suffering in poverty. Within the framework which Blake creates, the reader is left to determine his own idea of what the repetition may represent, and this is at the centre of the verse's success. Irony is employed with great effect in the verse beginning "How the chimney-sweeper's cry". The author contrasts the poverty and ill-health of chimney-sweeps with the wealth of the church, and suggests that instead of helping the poor the church pays them a pittance to work in hazardous conditions. ...read more.


This leads the reader to ask: with whom are the 'soldiers' at war? As Marx foretold and the French Revolution demonstrated, the working classes and those controlling the means of production operate with opposing aims. Blake brings a new element of severity to the situation by suggesting that forces are at work against the poor subjects. INSERT LAST VERSE DISCUSSION HERE Wordsworth is blissfully unaware of the scenes which Blake paints. Indeed, Wordsworth's London is so far removed from Blake's that one is led to ask whether the two are writing of the same city at all. There is a significant period of time between the two which could arguably account for this; Wordsworth's work being written before the Industrial Revolution and Blake' at its height. ...read more.

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