William Blake

William Blake- Holy Thursday (songs of innocence)

          march the poor/ orphaned children from the charity schools of London to a service a t the cathedral

          images: children flowed into the church, flowers, lambs, innocent hands, wind raising song to heavens, harmonious thundering

o   children = images of nature; more innocent = closer to God

o   irony: the children are seen to be closer to God , but it is the adults who march the children to church

          adults = wise guardians of the poor; gray against the children’s red, blue, and green

          adults have agency, children merely go where they are told →celebrating a charitous act on their part

          no questions being used; painting us a picture of the facts

William Blake- Holy Thursday (songs of experience)

          contradiction right from the start: “Holy Thursday” is it truly a “holy” act?

          adults: cold and usurious hands

          how can the children sing a purely joyous song being that they’re poor orphans?

          opens up to the larger scale problem: why are so many children poor?

          lots of questions in the first half

          contradiction: rich and fruitful land→ land of poverty

          the children live in a different world, apart from the privileged adults (no sun, bleak and bare, thorns, eternal winter) but such a place cannot possibly exist…so poverty and hunger cannot exist…so the adults need not worry about it

o   perception of how the privileged see the world around them and their lack of involvement

          Blake is criticizing the act of once a year parading children about to make the adults themselves feel better

          imagery: sun, fields, thorns, winter (completely different than the first poem!)

William Blake- The Sick Rose (songs of experience)

          erosion, forbidden  love→ things that are beautiful are fleeting

          employs symbols: objects events whose significance extends far beyond their literal meanings

o   worm (invisible)

o   rose (sick)

o   howling storm

          attitude towards events; tone of voice

          he’s blaming g her for allowing the worm to make her sick

          rose and worm are gendered

o   we see rose as feminine and worm as masculine

o   worm has agency where the rose does not; she was unaware, he’s invisible

William Blake- London (songs of experience)

          short title, depicts reality

          he talks about ordinary people, but he’s not one of them

          bleakness; realistic and visual

          symbol: Thames River, marks (used as both verb and noun)

          more than just a place on a map…it’s a state of human kind

          “wander” = aimless, loss of purpose, hint of bewilderment

          “mind-forged manacles”= distorted by societal norms

          soldiers, prostitutes

o   negative connotations

          depicts city life as a lower state of being “weakness/ woe”

          classism: constructed views of persons place in society (chimney sweeper, soldier, hooker) those at bottom wrung are worse off than others

          Blake wanted to escape the dirty city life for a more peaceful existence in the country


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