“London”

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Using the thesis from class today (see below), write a paragaph about “London”.

Thesis: Poetry shares visions with readers about aspects of existence.

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15 responses

  1. William Blake’s poem, “London”, utilises literary techniques such as repetition, assonance and rhyme to masterfully depict images and aspects of a manacled Victorian society, through sharing disapproving visions of a chartered, industrial Europe. Primarily, repetition of the word “every” is used to demonstrate the omnipresence of sorrow caused by materialism and the negligence of the church. Additional repetition of “chartered” is utilised to extend upon the restriction of society at the hands of the powerful, namely the monarchy and the Church of England. This mournful outlook is furthered through the use of an ABAB rhyming scheme, “…chartered street…face I meet…” to emphasize Blake’s mocking of the “black’ning Church’s” actions. Disgust at the churches actions is further explored through “the Chimney-sweeper’s cry” and desolate assonated tones in “street…near…meet”, consequently evoking emotions of sadness and disgust, compelling the audience to oppose the actions of those in power. Through the use of literary devices, namely repetition, rhyme and assonance, Blake shares aspects of his desolate vision for a Victorian England chained by “mind-forged manacles”.

  2. ‘London’, by vibrant poet William Blake, is a poem about materialist hardships that uses vivid imagery to recreate the poet’s fiery vision, not entirely dissimilar to That So Raven’s ‘Raven’. This poem is the pessimistic tale of humankind’s disastrous fate at the poisonous hands of the industrial revolution, which ironically was less of a useful step forward to those in poverty than the people had imagined. Machines and slave children took all the work opportunities. The poem tells of utter, blatant misery in the faces and voices of everyone – the poor were trapped by class and poverty, the young were forced in slave trades (sex or cleaning), the rich by lack of moral conscience and empathy and the old were too late and muddled to stop the changing times. Materialism consumed people, becoming all people had to live for, and in the end it became their certain downfall. Rhyme is used throughout in an ABAB format to outline the unheard cries of desperation felt by the depressed population. …..

  3. Using poetic devices such as similes, metaphors and repetition numerously throughout the poem ‘London’, William Blake shares his vision, describing a corrupt society dominated by the power of materialism and contrast between the working and upper class divisions of society. The use of the word ‘Chartered’ is ambiguous, as it expresses the political and economic control that Blake is sharing is vision of existence which he considers the town London to be, separated into four quatrains in iambic tetrameter, with a basic rhyme scheme starting A B A B. ‘Marriage hearse’ with ‘plague’ usually is understood to reference to the spread of disease passed from a prostitute to a man, then passed from the man to his wife, hence then that marriage can then become a death sentence.

  4. William Blake’s poem creates a vivid scene, allowing the reader to intepret the vision the poet intended for the audience. An eighteenth century city in oppresive setting through an execution of descriptive imagery and manipulation of language. The poet highlights his opinion against the capitalism London has been governed by. He exhibits this by voicing aspects of his existence in a world where such hard labour has led to a harsh and sombre overtone throughout the poem, thus reflecting his emotions surrounding the poverty.

  5. Poets often use many literary techniques to share vision with readers about aspects of existence. “London” by William Blake connotes the hypocrisy at the corrupted civilization during the industrial revolution. This is portrayed through the imagery the poverty-stricken streets. The melancholy AB rhyming scheme reflects the “[wandering]” steps of the author down the lanes. It also emphasizes the bleakness of the poem. The repetition of the word “chartered” reinforces Blake’s hatred towards the upper class and their restrictive ways. Irony is present when as Blake is mocking the “chartered Thames” which should normally flow freely. “London” highlights social and political background of London and emphasizes the differences in wealth between the classes and the injustice this causes. Through the poem “London” Blake has stresses his vision that “man is born free, but everywhere is in chains” through the use of the poverty cycle.

    • Edited Version

      Poets often use many literary techniques to share vision with readers about aspects of existence. “London” by William Blake connotes the hypocrisy of the corrupted civilization during the industrial revolution. This is portrayed through the imagery and personification of the poverty-stricken streets which possess “Marks of weakness, marks of woe”. The melancholy ABAB rhyming scheme reflects the “[wandering]” steps of the author through the lanes. It also emphasizes the bleakness of the poem. The repetition of the word “chartered” reinforces Blake’s hatred towards the upper class and their restrictive ways. Irony is present when as Blake is mocking the “chartered Thames” which should normally flow freely. “London” highlights social and political background of London and emphasizes the differences in wealth between the classes and the injustice this causes. Through the poem “London” Blake has stressed his vision that “man is born free, but everywhere is in chains” through the use of imagery, personification and repetition.

  6. By using numerous poetic devices such as repetition and metaphor throughout his poem “London”, William Blake effectively shares visions with readers about certain aspects of existence in the pro-industrial era. An ABAB rhyme scheme is used throughout each of the four line stanzas throughout the poem, emphasising the overall negative effect that the industrial revolution has had on the living conditions of those in London. The assonance of long vowel sounds repeated throughout further portray the sombre and melancholy feeling of the poem, symbolising the wails of the sick and dying.

  7. Poetry shares visions with readers about aspects of existence as exemplified in the Poem ‘London’ by William Blake as he shares images to the reader as he present an opinion to the reader through the use of poetic devices. The poem follows a A,B,A,B rhyming pattern with four lines in each of the four stanzas. The poem comments on the injustice that is present in the London society as the rich are separated from the poor. Even the church is criticized for their inaction against this injustice as they preach good.

  8. Through William Blake’s language and use of poetic devices, he has been able to share his vision with readers about aspects of existence through the industrialization of humans and the government’s ignorance towards poverty. By using repetition and alliteration, Blake successfully creates a woeful scenery through the long sounds of the words, creating a melancholy mood within the first stanza. This is further emphasized through the “black’ning Church”, illustrating the ignorance that the Church and government contain regarding poverty and enhancing selfishness throughout mankind.

  9. William Blake’s poem London describes the industrialisation of Victorian London, sharing visions of destituteness, poverty and prostitution, highlighting the subjects miserable aspects of existence. Through the use of techniques such as repetition, alliteration, sibilance and imagery, Blake creates a world of constriction, weakness and fear. Throughout the first and second stanzas, repetition portrays aspects of London society’s existence. ‘Marks’ and ‘chartered’ are used to indicate the impact of the situation on the people, as well as their control of the natural world. The repeating of the word ‘every’ indicates that every person is affected, no one is left behind by the horrific uprising of industry. The imagery through stanzas three and four paints a picture in the readers mind of a suffering, helpless and lost city. ‘Every black’ning church appals’ describes in depth the selfishness of the Church and indicates that as it ignored the sorrowful cries of the poor, it became further tainted and black. The vision shared by Blake through the last stanza symbolises depression through the ‘youthful Harlot’s curse’ and the elusiveness of escape.

  10. Poets are famous for their talent of expressing their visions through aspects of a range of existences. Through the use of language William Blake describes a very corrupted society dominated by the power of materialism and the contrast between upper and working-class sections of society in his poem ‘London.’ The poem is written from a very negative perspective where people who exist in a dark oppressive world, suffering the consequences of corruption of those in positions of power. The repeated adjective “chartered” connotes the important of money to live in every in this ephemeral world, where everything is focused around money, richness and its value to reach anything. The verses “In every cry of every man” and “in every infant’s cry of fear” are examples of this fact. Humans are living in fear all the time, inside the dark of a society influenced by materialism. The materialism of words is reflects with “the mind-forged manacles,” which represents people’s preoccupation for money and the dependence to the important institutions. Blake is a talented poet who skilfully shares his aspects of existence through the use of language, especially repetition throughout his poem ‘London.’

  11. The third stanza in William Blake’s “London” shares a dark and oppressing vision of existence in a corrupted society dominated by power and class. Blake uses comparison between a chimney-sweeper and a solider to comment on the two most prominent institutions of the time, Monarchy and the Church, to express the suffering of human beings during this time – “How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry Every black’ning Church appals”. Stanza three shares this depressing vision to provoke a melancholic mood within the reader and further enforce the tyranny in London.

  12. William Blake’s “London” is a compelling social criticism of Victorian England. Through the vivid visions created within the poem, Blake keeps the poem relevant today, allowing readers to contemplate various aspects of existence. The imagery that Blake utilises in the poem is borne from his own experiences as a witness of the industrial revolution in England. An example of this is the image of the chimney-sweeper being turned away by the church, sharing with the readers the corruption of the upper class and the despair of the lower class, an extremely different aspect of existence than many reading the poem today.

  13. Via subject matter and mood, William Blake shares his bleak vision of a dystopian society whose existence causes the pain and suffering of “every Man” during the industrial revolution in London. London is a melancholic poem strictly composed in four stanzas, with each stanza containing four lines written in an ABAB rhyming scheme- the uncompromising structure reflecting the “mind forg’d manacles” that restrain the people of London. These constraints are the direct effect of the power of the “black’ning Church” and “Palace walls”, which are metonyms for religion and the government, respectively. Blake has adeptly described his despair for the existence of authoritarian figures which cause sorrow in the poor and underprivileged, sharing his vision of a dystopian London whom holds a gloomy, inescapable future of restraint of the mind and body.

  14. Poetry shares visions with readers about aspects of existence, such as in William Blake’s ‘London,’ where he creates visions of the dismal eighteenth-century city through his manipulation of language and imagery. The poem is a passionate social protest against the capitalism, driven by the industrial revolution, that Blake witnessed emerging. Through use of strong imagery, Blake depicts London as a ‘manacled’ society; the people were oppressed by wealthy authority figures and suppressed by their own, seemingly inescapable, cycles of poverty. Blake creates the vision of sordid London existence through his use of imagery, developed through his effective language.

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