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William Blake anthlogy

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Introduction

Explain how Blake uses imagery, form and language in these poems, and what their content reveals about the times in which they were written and Blake's beliefs. Songs of Innocence was published in 1789 and Songs of Experience in 1794 by the Romantic poet and artist William Blake. Within the songs, many are obviously, and some less obviously, paired. In the first collection of poems Blake conveys child-like, innocent view of human life, while the second explores a darker and more experiences perspective on life. This essay will analyse, compare and contrast two poems by William Blake, called "The Lamb" and "Tyger". I will be looking at how Blake uses imagery, structure and form to create effects. I will them go on to explore themes to see how representative the techniques used are of Blake's other work in this section In the beginning of the 18th century London had a population of just under 600,000. By 1800 this had reached over a million. It was the largest city in the world with perhaps the more diverse population. If encompassed the slums that dominated its eastern reaches, and the obscene wealth of its aristocratic west. It gave home to the beggar, trader and baronet. Previously London had been a series of communities spread along the Thames al within easy reach of open fields. By the beginning of the 18th century however, London had become a massive urban sprawl. Many housing developments in the East and North were of poor quality so house collapses were common, often killing entire families. Buildings were overcrowded so disease was easily spread. In contrast, the west was built to a higher standard and chains, iron railings and padlocks were increasingly used to segregate the rich from the poor. The term INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION originally referred to the developments that transformed Great Britain, between 1750 and 1830, from a largely rural population making a living almost entirely from agriculture to a town-centered society engaged increasingly in factory manufacture. ...read more.

Middle

This reminds the reader that even though something can be negative and destructive, there is always a natural side present. In his Songs of Innocence poems, Blake uses similar form techniques to give his poems a certain effect. In "The Lamb" Blake uses a question and answer stanza style, with the first stanza asking the question and the second stanza answering it. This creates a very simple feel to the poem and is a reflection on the fact the narrator is a child and the poem is written from a child's perspective. Blake also uses rhyming couplets which creates a nursery rhyme rhythm adding to his desires that his poems should be accessible to all people. The question "who made thee?" is a very child like question, yet still a very philosophical question. The repetition of "Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee" in the beginning and end of the first stanza helps create the song-like sound. The "Tyger" has six quatrains, each with two pairs of rhyming couplets. Each stanza seems to have its own question, all of which come from the first question of "What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" The speaker is unknown thought in this poem; however Blake could be suggested as the speaker as it is his views which are being expressed. From a nursery rhyme to a pounding beat is the change as it is now faster and deeper than a nursery rhyme. The beat is a pounding beat, which is suggestive of a hammer or anvil being hit against metal in a factory. Blake creates this powerful rhythm by using techniques such as repetition, alliteration and creates the emphasis on the words using punctuation, in particular exclamation and question marks. This is clear in "Tyger Tyger, burning bright" where the alliteration and repetition stress the emphasis on the words. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rhyming couplets are used once again to try and create the nursery rhyme type feel to the poem, yet the pace in this poem gets picked up during the end stanza. The point of view comes from an observer in the crowd, and he is also the narrator. The fact that the narrator is the observer makes the poem seem more realistic as he can see everything that is going on and makes the poem credible to the reader. The other poem Blake wrote, "Holy Thursday" contains four quatrains each with shorter line lengths than compared to its companion poem in the Songs of Innocence. The speaker in this poem seems to be Blake and this can be seen with the evidence of twisted pastoral imagery and Blake's unhappiness with the treatment of children in society, "In a rich and fruitful land, Babes reduc'd to misery". However, Blake has now used an ABAB rhyming scheme, perhaps signalling the fact that this is more of a ballad styled rhythm rather than a song like one. Ballads are often songs that tell a story, often containing refrains and the story would often be about a saga, romance or tragedy. Ballads were more powerful than ordinary poems and they often contained a hidden agenda. Blake's "Holy Thursday" companion poems explore two different views of how the Church and state, together, are trying to help the children. In the Songs of Innocence poem, Blake is trying to portray a sense of cleanliness, purity and happiness in the children, which is expressed when he describes the children flowing through the "Thames waters" which is the river that runs through the centre of London, trying to imply the children are at the heart of the city. The message given by Blake is that the "Grey headed beadles" are performing good deeds and are helping the children and that society is working together to help the future of the children. However, while there are differences in the poem there are clearly similarities. ...read more.

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