English | IOC Notes

English | IOC Notes

Blake: INTRO
I am going to analyse the poem “London” by William Blake from songs of experience, which was a collection of poems first published in 1794. The poem is a potent expression of Blake’s disgust for

William Blake was an English poet who lived from 1757 to 1827 and is now considered a seminal figure in the history of Romanticism – an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement in Europe characterised by its emphasis on emotion, individualism and the glorification of the past and nature. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution.

The poem primarily discusses the notion of X in order to communicate to X, X during Blake’s time.

I am going to analyse the text by examining its form, language, audience and purpose as well as looking at how Blake’s use of specific literary features assists him to communicate his message through the poem in reference to the guiding questions.

London
FORM: Iambic tetrameter
Let’s start with the form.
– Written from the perspective of a speaker wandering through London witnessing disturbing events and uses the first person in present tense.
– Includes four quatrains – mostly of iambic tetrameter, with alternate lines rhyming.
– The meter in the poem is used to convey weakness, as in the fourth line which uses 7 syllables instead of 8 (and later 3rd stanza).
– Blake’s selection of poetry as his medium of choice could be due to: Poems being a short and more digestible means of strong emotional communication or poems being more popular than other mediums at the time.

PURPOSE:
– The purpose of the poem is likely to communicate to this audience the nature of the abhorrent living conditions of Londoners during Blake’s time.

AUDIENCE:
Now for the audience.
– The likely target audience of the poem can be split up into two groups of Londoners (due to title).
– The upper class of London due to the nature of the poem’s criticism being aimed at them.
– The lower class as they would most closely relate to the poem.

LANGUAGE:
I will now discuss language features.
– Repetition “every”
– Alliteration “weakness, woe”
– Oxymoron “marriage hearse”
– Symbolism “youthful harlot”
– Double-entendre “black’ning” (soot and morals)
– Imagery “hear, cry curse”
– “chartered”
Symbolism: map – restricted
Repetition: repeated to convey nature of streets
– “Mind-forged manacles”
Metaphor
Symbolism
– “runs in blood down palace walls”
Irony: (English soldiers dying for French monarchy)
Juxtaposition: (soldier’s fate and palace dwellers)

The Chimney Sweeper
FORM: Iambic tetrameter
Let’s start with the form.
– The text is presented in the form of a Poem which:
Primarily uses the first person in both past and present tense to convey the perspective of a young chimney sweep e.g
– Includes 3 short, impactful quatrains – first using rhyming couplets and thereafter using an alternate rhyme scheme in iambic tetrameter.
– Blake’s selection of poetry as his medium of choice could be due to: Poems being a short and more digestible means of strong emotional communication or poems being more popular than other mediums at the time.

PURPOSE:
– The purpose of the poem is likely to highlight the unhappiness and mistreatment of children by parents and the church during the industrial revolution in England.

AUDIENCE:
Now for the audience.
– The likely target audience of the poem can be split up into two groups: parents and religious people

LANGUAGE:
I will now discuss language features.
– Symbolism “thing”
– Oxymoron “heaven of our misery”
– Alliteration “weep, weep, woe”
– Allusion “god, church, priest”
– Irony “done me no injury”
– Juxtaposition in 2nd stanza “I was happy, smiled” vs “clothes of death, notes of woe”
– “black, snow”
Juxtaposition: shows contrast between innocence + experience
Metaphor: black thing = sweep, snow = innocence

The Little Black Boy
FORM: Heroic quatrains
Let’s start with the form.
– The text is presented in the form of a Poem which:
is written from the perspective of a young black slave (first person) and his mother, who guides him and acts as an authoritative figure. The first and last two stanzas are a black boy’s voice.
Includes seven heroic quatrains, with 10 syllables per line and alternate lines rhyming.
– Blake’s selection of poetry as his medium of choice could be due to:
Poems being a short and more digestible means of strong emotional communication.
Poems being more popular than other mediums at the time.

PURPOSE:
– The purpose of the poem is to criticise the slavery of black people evident in England during the industrial revolution.

AUDIENCE:
Now for the audience.
– The likely target audience of the poem can be split up into three groups:
Slaves because they are the ones affected.
People in positions of power because they can do something about it.
General population to raise awareness about the issue. (slave trade accounted for 5% of national British income)

LANGUAGE:
I will now discuss language features.
– Juxtaposition “I am black, but oh my soul is white” (contrast of opposites – appearance is superficial)
– Symbolism “black, white”, “golden tent”, “learn’d the heat to bear” (soul to be freed at death OR end of slavery)
– Irony “bereaved of light” (he is a slave but
– Metaphor “gives his heat away”, “beams of love”
– Repetition “gives”
– Allusion “god”, “His”
– Inclusive language “we” (black and white equal), “our”
– Simile “like a shady grove”, “like lambs we joy”
– Setting (second stanza)

The Tiger
FORM: Trochaic tetrameter
Let’s start with the form.
– The text is presented in the form of a Poem which:
Is written from a third person omniscient perspective and poses questions about creation and specifically the creation of the tiger.
Includes a regular structure of six quatrains, written in trochaic tetrameter with alternate lines rhyming.
Beginning and ending are repeated which shows there is no answer to the rhetorical questions regarding who created the tiger (reader decides) This also frames the poem.
– Blake’s selection of poetry as his medium of choice could be due to:
Poems being a short and more digestible means of strong emotional communication.
Poems being more popular than other mediums at the time.

PURPOSE:
– The purpose of the poem is likely to challenge readers to question the existence of the tiger and how god could create animals with such contrasting features. “Did he who made the lamb make thee?” Blake writing poems on each conveys the idea of balance. “Showing the two contrary states of the human soul”
– Secondarily, the poem could be seen as being written to promote the belief of god because what else could have create such a thing as the tiger?

AUDIENCE:
Now for the audience.
– The likely target audience of the poem can be seen as primarily adults due to the deep nature of the subject being discussed.
– Younger children may not understand the ideas within the text and thus by elimination the target audience could be people of age/adults.

LANGUAGE:
I will now discuss language features.
– Repetition “Tyger”, “dare”
– Symbolism “shoulder”, “lamb”
– Alliteration “burning bright”
– Rhetorical questions “what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
– Personification “did he smile his work to see?”
– Imagery “hammer, chain, furnace, anvil”

Davis: Context
Jack Davis was a prominent Aboriginal Australian who lived from 1917 to 2000 and was a notable 20th-century playwright and poet.

His book, “No Sugar” was first published in 1986 and was a story set during the Great Depression, in Western Australia intended to expose Australian racism.

Overall Structure
Introduction:
– State if it is a song of innocence/experience
– Context: Revolutions during Blake’s time and industrial revolution
– Summarise the extract according to FLAP
– What my commentary will focus on specifically: literary features?

Main body: (LINKING, PEE)
– Point:
Point about part of poem.
– Evidence:
SHORT, focused quotes integrated into sentences, less “for example”.
Refer to line numbers
Use multiple examples of each feature
Include literary features
– Explanation:
Affect of literary feature on audience
Explain combinations of literary features for greater effect (e.g. repetition of second person)
Various reader responses (modern vs old?) and own perspective
Consider author’s intention
Explain points in context (add detail to context when relevant)

Conclusion:
– Brief summary
– Author’s purpose
– Overall effect
– End with impact

Reminders
– Refer to LINES in QUOTES.

– Blake’s use of “” and “” conveys to readers…

– Keep QUOTES SHORT and TO THE POINT.

– Talk about EFFECTS ON THE READER.

– PEE STRUCTURE.

– Minimalise GENERALISATIONS.

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