Last updated: February 27, 2019
Topic: SocietyWar
Sample donated:

“London” by Blake

“London” by William Blake is a poem telling about society being troubled by the mistakes of the previous generation. The poem describes dirty streets of London, its social environment and political events. Actually, the language of the poem is rather expressive and vivid, because the author tends to provide common words with new fresh meanings in order to achieve the desired expression. The author uses spoken observations of a symbolic character to narrate and to refresh the political and social problems endangering city’s residents in the beginning of the 19th century. The poem is written in rhythmically patterned linear style. The central theme of the poem is the idea oppression will be revisited.

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The author uses the following techniques to re-shape the meanings of the words: setting and situation, symbols and images, structure and form, alliteration and imagery to convey the message directly to readers. For example, first two stanzas are characterizes by word choice and alliteration, because the author wants to set the mournful atmosphere. Interestingly, the reader is introduced as a “wander through the charted society”. In such a way the author shows that every person is “marks of weakness, marks of woe”. The words “cry” and “every” are the symbols of depression afflicting the whole society. The phrase “mind-forged manacles” assumes that the narrator is mentally instable.

The third stanza represents the use of imagery of religion and destruction. For example, “chimney-sweeper’s cry” is the symbol that society is trying to cope with the causes of depression. Religious imagery “black’ning church” symbolizes the loss of innocence and, possible, represents society’s abandonment of religion. The “hapless soldier’s sigh” symbolizes the war and men who have no choice but to serve in the army. Thus, Black uses the sense of destruction stating that people are forced to cope with weakness. The last stanza of the poem reveals the most complex meaning. For example, “youthful harlot’s curse” shows that next generation will be affected by the sinful deeds of the youth. “Plagues” are the symbols of curse, whereas “marriage hearse” aims at confusing death and eternity. Summing up, it is necessary to outline that the poem is very symbolic representing vividly the sorrows and weaknesses of the society.