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What have you understood, from reading the poems of William Blake?

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Introduction

Amna Abdelrahim What have you understood, from reading the poems of William Blake? William Blake, a late 18th century English Romantic poet uses traditional forms for his poetry in that he blends the ballad, the nursery rhyme and the hymn. The meaning he constructs from these forms however is far from traditional. His style was to express very complex ideas in very simple language and compressing a lot of deep meaning into often very short poems. Blake was a rebel and was over enjoyed when the French revolution liberated the repressed underclass. He wanted social equality but the industrial revolution just widened the gap between the rich and the poor. He often criticised the Establishment, especially the Church, for its hypocrisy and he was against things that prevented the human spirit from being free, therefore he disliked the rulings of kings and priests. All that surrounded him had an influence on his poetry. His poems are separated into innocence and experience, both opposites as Innocence has the sounds of laughter and joy the images of simplicity, children being protected, unthreatening animals like the birds and the lamb also beauty of nature, the roses and the non scary daylight, brightness and sunshine reflecting the creator's warm love. Next, experience which is something which you bring to yourself as time passes; here we hear sounds of crying, weeping, sighing and cursing. ...read more.

Middle

'Under leaves so green', 'skylark ad thrush', 'birds of the bush', 'green hill', 'grasshopper laughs', 'Besides, in the sky the little birds fly', ''And the hills are all cover'd with sheep.'' Nature is such a beautiful and innocent state and by using it Blake paints a visual picture with his words, which helps the reader grasp that image ideally to suit a specific poem. In 'The Laughing Song', he paints a rural scene, a vivid image of woodland and a countryside setting ideal for this type of poem. Comparing both "The Chimney sweeper" from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, the poems are both similar in subject with Blake using `The Chimney Sweep" in both to emphasise the miserable urban life of a chimney sweep during the industrial revolution. Appearing in both poems is the rhyming pattern of aabb, abab and four beat line rhythms producing the effect of a children's song, this is a technique used to accentuate innocence of the poem. The two poems are also similar that in which are being told from a child's point of view display one important difference. In the `innocence' poem the child is unaware of the implications that the story he is telling beholds. Where as in "experience" the child is a streetwise child of the slums creating a darker tone. ...read more.

Conclusion

Blake can thunder with the best, but he an also say no so quietly and subtly that the reader does not realize quite how much is being subverted. As a teenager living in today's society I can still relate to Blake's work and the meanings of his poetry it makes me think about the beauty of creation. I understand the magnitude of innocence and experience. His poems are inspirational and it captures one's imagination. It captures the innocence of the time it was written in. I have learnt about the two opposite natures and the different states of being, it shows you how the times have changed and today's children have many more rights, but nature in all its excellence and beauty is still there and will never change. It portrays realism and the hardship that not only the children of that time had to face but all the poor, under privileged people. He captured his time using realism and the drudgery. He shows us unspoilt innocence and its saddening and moving how innocence can never last! Although Blake was not very well known throughout his life, he became a part of history creating some of the most passionate poetry of all time. He was an artist of great ability creating amazing pieces of work with profound simplicity encouraging and inspiring people around the world. Exercising the minds of many of us still to this day! ...read more.

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