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William Blake; The schoolboy

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Rachel Jones SH William Blake; The schoolboy William Blake believed in freedom of speech, democracy and 'free love', for these reasons he disagreed strongly with formal education and conventional teaching in both schools and churches. He believed that this constrained people stopping them from having their own thoughts. Blake believed that children who were not given a formal education would want to learn off their own accord making learning more fun and enjoyable for the child. Blake portrays these opinions in the poem 'The schoolboy'; which he chose to write in the voice of 'the schoolboy' himself, to stand up for children who's views on schooling are rarely acknowledged. Blake's decision to use a definite article in the title; 'The schoolboy' shows that the poem is a biographical piece about a specific schoolboy, and allows Blake to voice his own opinions as if they were that of a school child provoking more sympathy from the reader than would simply expressing his own views, therefore making his opinions on formal education more persuasive. ...read more.


The third stanza is negative again, showing the way the child feels by describing his body language whilst at school; 'I drooping sit', and the line 'and spend many an anxious hour' shows how the boy is permanently feeling nervous and in fear whilst at school. Blake then goes on to show the effect this would have on the pupil 'nor in my book can I take delight, nor sit in learning's bower', this demonstrates his theory that school represses the child and stops learning being fun for them. These lines imply that if the boy were not at school he would be choosing to read and learn off his own accord. The fourth stanza marks a change in the poem as the narrative shifts from first to third person. This is where Blake addresses the parents and teachers showing that he unlike most other adults agrees with the children when they say they shouldn't have to go to school. The way the verse is structured into two rhetorical questions makes the reader stop and think about the matter in hand. ...read more.


childhood then they will not be fully prepared for their lives ahead of them and will have regrets in their later lives. A metaphor is used throughout the poem referring to the stages of a person's life as the seasons in the year, the last stanza uses this metaphor to insinuate that a persons childhood is the most important time because if they don't learn how to have fun in the spring of their life they will not know how to enjoy themselves in the summer of life. This makes the last line of the poem particularly effective 'when the blasts of winter appear' as people rarely think about how the way they live their childhood will effect their later lives, this rhetorical question makes the reader contemplate whether a formal education in an early life is worth facing the regrets it will cause them to live with in later life looking back upon few happy memories. And maybe learning the joys of life and how to live to the fullest is the most important lesson to be learned within childhood. ...read more.

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