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GCSE: William Blake

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Blake and the Romantics

  1. 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. 2 The Romantics sympathised with the 'common man' and supported the American and French revolutions.
  3. 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. 4 Some critics have said that Blake is 'far and away the greatest artist Britain ever produced'.
  5. 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. 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. 2 He was a member of the free love movement and likened some marriages to slavery saying that marriage was 'legalised prostitution'.
  3. 3 In Songs of Innocence and Experience Blake embraced the standard Romanticism of the innocence of childhood.
  4. 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. 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. 1 Blake's poems are deceptively simple but contain strong symbolism and liberal messages concealed within their regular structure and rhyme schemes.
  2. 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. 3 Analyse and do not describe the content of the poem.
  4. 4 Make sure all poetry terminology is accurate to demonstrate understanding of poetic techniques.
  5. 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.

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  1. The Destructors, By Graham Greene - “How is T. different from the rest of the gang?”

    This action of acceptance towards T. undoubtedly shows the gang's strange yet fear ruled respect for him. The gang respected T's silence, as he never wasted a word, he was cool, collected and confident. His confidence was new and immediately recognised by the boys of the gang. The reason that the gang respected T. was not only because he was a lot older than the rest of them, but also his self-assurance, startling confidence and never feeling the need to speak unless spoken to, was realised instantly and forthwith he was respected. Compared with the rest of the gang, T.

    • Word count: 1735
  2. How, if at all, did the lives of Londoners in the seventeenth century differ from those who lived in the larger provincial towns?

    By 1700, the population had reached 490,000 and had more than doubled in the past hundred years, radiating urban sprawl around the nuclear core of Westminster and the City and in the process generating a social context in which lives quite different from either traditional rural or provincial urban life were lived. Provincial urban centres, on the other hand, failed to experience such an explosive growth, most increasing slowly in size. Norwich, for example increased from 20,000 inhabitants in 1600 to 30,000 in 1700 which relative to London was negligible and Norwich was England's second city at that time.

    • Word count: 3179
  3. Consider William Blakes presentation of love in the poem The Clod and the Pebble.

    The pebble?s pessimism about love, on the other hand, is unpleasant and unsettling, but it?s also a more accurate reflection of the brutal nature of the world as it is depicted in the poem. Blake?s presentation of love, then, is ambivalent. While the ideal that love is able to overcome any circumstance is appealing, it might not be a realistic assessment in the context of the world?s cruelty. Blake?s personification of the clod and the pebble captures two very different human experiences.

    • Word count: 891
  4. Romanticism in William Blake's Poetry.

    while In Songs of Experience, he recognizes the injustice and speaks against the establishments that left him where he is. This example of the "Chimney Sweeper" poems in Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience illustrates William Blake's view that neither naive innocence nor bitter experience overcome the detrimental effects of the laborious industrialization Another prominent idea in the Romantic poetry is that of The Importance of Nature. indeed , The Romantic poet is only at peace when he is in nature.

    • Word count: 616
  5. The `Introduction' poem to the book Songs of Innocence has a symbolic representation, and it is quite the opposite to the `Introduction' of the book called Songs of Experience

    The other rhymes but not alike to the nursery rhymes you would read as a child, sad and evil. The `Introduction' poem to the book Songs of Innocence has a symbolic representation, and it is quite the opposite to the `Introduction' of the book called Songs of Experience. The word innocent can mean many things, such as purity, untouched, softness, nurture, gentleness and nature, these all relate to the image of country. The real definition of innocence is `free from moral wrong'. This is nothing like the meanings of experience. These meanings can be corrupt, evil, impure and they can all relate to the image of city.

    • Word count: 757
  6. Romanticism - Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

    In Songs of Innocence, the poem follows a basic rhyme scheme of AABB. These rhyming couplets are childlike and uncomplicated adding to the naïve reflection upon the lives of the chimney sweeping children. It highlights the exploit of child labour, oppressing the unaware victims who are destined for sickness and youthful death despite their hope of eternal and joyous life with God in heaven. In Songs of Experience however, the rhyme scheme depicts a very different outcome for the chimney sweeps with no hope and only misery of the present and the future to look toward.

    • Word count: 1180

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