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London Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Blake Type: Poetry Views: 13489

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I wandered through each chartered street,

Near where the chartered Thames does flow,

A mark in every face I meet,

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.



In every cry of every man,

In every infant's cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forged manacles I hear:



How the chimney-sweeper's cry

Every blackening church appals,

And the hapless soldier's sigh

Runs in blood down palace-walls.



But most, through midnight streets I hear

How the youthful harlot's curse

Blasts the new-born infant's tear,

And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Once again Blake\'s poetry is missunderstood, with poetry especialy Blake it is important to \'think outside of the box\' LONDON is not a poem about the city, instead think of it as been about a women.once you think of it in this way things will become clearer eg:the hapless soldier sighs is a metaphor for sex against a wall, hope this helps all you people that are struggling with this. Calum Kim

| Posted on 2011-01-19 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is just of the script of A clock work orange or mary poppins, i havent decided

| Posted on 2010-05-23 | by a guest


.: :.

In first stanza,both the streets and Thames are described as charter'd,implying that they are controlledd by the state.But the word ''charter'd'' suggests the opressive nature of capitalism.Blake attacks several aspects of society that Blake deemed ill and corrupt.It also adresses the growth of Capitalism in Britain at the begining of the Industrial revolution of 1750's.

| Posted on 2010-03-28 | by a guest


.: :.

the use of repetition in this poem is interesting i think

| Posted on 2010-02-25 | by a guest


.: :.

the poem talks a bout the public images streets and thames which are also being exploited by the rich.child exploitation sexually transmitted disease are common features of london
.

| Posted on 2010-01-13 | by a guest


.: :.

A Level students interpretation of 'London'
Blake's 'London' attacks several aspects of society that Blake deemed 'ill' and corrupt. He had a very cynical opinion on the figures of authority such as the church and the king. It also addresses the growth of capitalism in Britain at the beginning of the Industrial revolution of 1750 onwards.
Blake's is critical of the aristocrats of London who capitalise on the suffering of the poor in the first stanza. The 'charter'd streets' and 'charter'd Thames doth flow' idicate that even the most public and natural features of the country are under the ownership of the rich; suggesting corruption in society.
Blake has a mention of the repressive nature of governing officials of society on the citizens of London in the second stanza. 'In every voice of every ban' suggests the laws and bans that are controlling the people. Several laws and bans were instigated during the period Blake would have been writing, such as the Combination laws of 1799 which banned trade unionism. Such laws would have repressed the freedom of speech in public. Blake describes this 'repression of thought' as the peoples 'mind forg'd manacles' the persuasive and influential church or government/king have a hold on the independance of beliefs and thought of the citizens of London.
Those are probs the main points that stand out in this poem but there are so many more that can be explored.
The 'mind forg'd manacles'

| Posted on 2009-12-23 | by a guest


.: :.

Im doing my GCSE's and comparing the poem "London" by William Blake and "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" by William Blake.
Looking at William Blake and William Wordsworth’s visions of London in their poems. You can see the difference between a tourist’s point of view and someone who has lived their most of their life. In Wordsworth’s poem, composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802. He perceives London as a beautiful and fair city. He only shows it in a positive way, a place that is free and open. He is writing it from Westminster Bridge, which is a very grand, powerful and rich area and will see the more pleasant places in London. Whereas William Blake presented London at a different perspective, as he only sees the tedious and ugly side of London when he strolls down the streets. But it was the true London he saw. He describes it as corrupt and weak. It is very controlled and everyone seems to be suffering from all the poor conditions, he also shows the society is dark and troubled.

| Posted on 2009-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

a critique of a city where all the inhabitants are suppressed and exploited by those in authority and power

| Posted on 2009-11-07 | by a guest


.: :.

It's not Blake wondering through london, it is kind of like a day dream, HE IMAGINES IT!

| Posted on 2009-09-28 | by a guest


.: :.

We must not not that the 18th century was the time when the industrial revolution happened, and industrial revolution led to the growth of capitalism which led to the huge rift between the rich and the poor and that could be a reason causing London to be like that at that time.

| Posted on 2009-09-15 | by a guest


.: :.

We must not not that the 18th century was the time when the industrial revolution happened, and industrial revolution led to the growth of capitalism which led to the huge rift between the rich and the poor and that could be a reason causing London to be like that at that time.

| Posted on 2009-09-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I refer to the previous post. The yer of first publication of this pom is given as 1974, wherein it actually is 1794. Please revise.

| Posted on 2009-09-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Blake wonders aimlessly through the streets of London where he finds that the streets and people are "charter'd" or directed. This is suggesting that people have been restricted from freedom of speech(was an actual law in place) and that the government indoctrinated the people into their "sovreign" x
This line suggests that child labour was wide practise and that there were no laws or restrictions on who worked. This could be ironic as the government controls the people of London so rigidly yet they allow the expolitation of children?
The Church is a symbol of salvation, hope and freedom yet Blake has symbolied it here as murderous, degrading and a institution to enforce ideas(another way that the government has control over the people)
Blake believes that marriage is a corrupt, institutialised system that represents the fears and inability of the English people to rebel and gain independence. Marriage is seen as "the beginning of the end" as people are (literally) signing away their right to freedom and independence.
Love from South Africa, 16.

| Posted on 2009-06-08 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem is quite gd and tells you how life in london was altho it is very depressing! i would have hated to lived there at that time.
london gives u a glimpse of london reality there and tells u how the rich control the streets and the thames in london. the people have restriction mentally in mind so they cant think of rebelling and ohysically moving in forbidden places. hope this helps
jess

| Posted on 2009-04-10 | by a guest


.: :.

I think the poem is based on Blake's disappointment with the changes he has seen in his London.

| Posted on 2009-03-29 | by a guest


.: :.

"William Blake’s poem “London”, first published in 1974"
(Posted on 2006-04-19)
At the age of 217...? Does anyone have a picture of him at his 200th birthday?

| Posted on 2009-03-29 | by a guest


.: :.

may i have a perfect paragraph about this poem please :)

| Posted on 2009-03-24 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe this poem is about how industrialised London had become. 'Charter'd street' is an example of this. Chartered primarily means to be given over to use of business/rent. As has the Thames river, it is chartered with boats and such.

| Posted on 2009-03-07 | by a guest


.: :.

For a good time, call joe @ 678 232 6140
p.s. this poem rocks!

| Posted on 2009-02-20 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is really inspirational, i am at high school and writing an essay on the poem.
The two poems each give different views on London- ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’ perceives London as a beautiful and fair city but the poem London describes it as corrupt and weak.

| Posted on 2009-01-28 | by a guest


.: :.

I agree with Kate and Jade...don`t we have issues in 2008 that we can discuss? A poem about 9/11 or the new president-elect? Something we can all relate to, rather than try to understand what went on in Balke`s time? Perhaps we just don`t have good poets any more? London is a depressing poem alright...but in 2008, I think we analyze other depressing works like the economy...as opposed to a 1794 poem.

| Posted on 2009-01-01 | by a guest


.: :.

A brilliant poem analysing the gritty, hardship of post-industrial, Authoritarian London - where misery runs rampant.
This poem is a bit of a joke amongst Rossmoyne Senior High School English Lit. students, as we overuse it for essays so much.

| Posted on 2008-11-05 | by a guest


.: :.

i am studing this at school for my GCSE's it's a wonderfull poem and it great if you contrast it with william wordsworth poem. "composed upon westminster bridge"

| Posted on 2008-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem is very good but from this poem i would not like to live there at that time.nand like the person a few messages above i also like to eat pizzas..:)

| Posted on 2008-10-03 | by a guest


.: :.

London by William Blake is silly. It's use of personification is depressing and I want to cry myself to sleep every time i read it. Our names are Kate and Jade. We are extremely intelligent and attend a lovely educational facility. In this poem they use old time lanuage. WHAT IS WITH THAT! We are in modern days, so why are we reading things like this? Our assignment is based on this poo pile that we dont understand. WHY?

| Posted on 2008-08-07 | by a guest


.: Sound :.

During the whole poem only one time does the speaker encounter actual people, in the "every face" part of the first stanza. I think this use of sound as a medium indicates that Blake was trying to express the ghostly lifelessness of London by showing signs of life but never life itself, except, again, for the beginning.

| Posted on 2008-05-20 | by a guest


.: :.

My name is derik and i have pizas for lunch, i dont quite know what this poem is about yet it is clear from the tight quatrian rhyme and the choice of words such as 'charterd' ( that could be a pun on the word 'Charted') combine to form the tightly structured poem that informs the reader of the restrictions within London at that time.
Its clear that the effects of the aristocracy was universal considering the echo of 'every', chaining each 'cry' to one and other.

| Posted on 2008-05-20 | by a guest


.: London :.

Blake once wrote "through imagination we can access god". the admonition "mind-forg'd manacles" links closely to this quote, also advocating that if one accepts dominent ideologies you became a prisoner of your own mind. Blake expresses aspects of imprisonment in lines such as "every voice in every ban". Furthermore, the repetition of the word 'every; depcits the universality of conflict that every man suffers, and how society has congruated all minds into one domineering one, and individuality along with confomroity of organized religion and politics has surprssed our imagination into a 'bleak' sense of living (reflected in London), and that without our imagination we have no direct contact with god, and therefore our lives are filled with the 'cry of ever man' and the 'black'ning church'.

| Posted on 2008-05-19 | by a guest


.: :.

There is a great deal of emphasis on disease in the poem. The "marks of weakness" suggest malnutrition and starvation. Also, the reference to blood running down a wall, suggests coughing up blood, a symptom of cholera, a disease prevelant in Blake's time, especially around the poorer areas close to the Thames. However, the most obvious reference to disease is in the last line, with the words 'blights' and 'plagues', both connected very strongly with the idea of disease, specifically endemic diseases.
Also, the references to authority are numerous throughout the poem. 'the mind-forged manacles' are a suggestion of the restraints put upon these people by authority, namely the 'blackening church', associated with exploitation and child labour, 'the chimney sweeper' of the poem. Even the 'youthful harlot' asserts authority, cursing the new-born infant, in an attempt to quiet the child, who is struggling to break free of his manacles, paralleling itself to "Infant Sorrow"

| Posted on 2008-05-18 | by a guest


.: Revolution :.

“Runs in blood down palace walls”, is the last line in the fourth stanza. I think it is used to relate to The French Revolution, as it is around that time. This could be showing that the Royals were killed and a new era was starting, but it could also be implying that some sort of upheaval would be possible in England at the time. The soldiers are dying and therefore have no fight left in them, and because of the poor lifestyle, children are being killed before they can try and resist the manacles surrounding them, and the adults struggle to fend for themselves, so will have no will to fight. This could have been viewed as a conspiracy, the government knew how poor these people were, and they knew that The French Revolution would have made them feel like they should stand up for what they believed, but as they were so weak and oppressed, there was nothing they could do about it, so the government continued to exploit these people without any second thought. Thus meaning the rich got richer and the poor stayed in poverty. Blake may be angry at this point, that no-one is prepared to take a chance and try and make a difference, and he may be seeing himself as some sort of leader, who has a say through his writings.
Gareth, 15.

| Posted on 2008-05-18 | by a guest


.: suffering, constraint :.

the ABAB rhyme scheme is like a reminder of a children's nursery rhyme, having a direct conflict with the idea and theme of the poem, like other poems in the Songs of Innocence in which adults are no longer innocent like children. they are constantly inflicting suffering on to others.
this suffering is depicted by Blakes repitition of 'every' in the second stanza. It shows the universality of conflict- that every man is suffering. in this stanza there are links between infant and man, suggesting a loss of innocence.
the repetition of 'cry' provides a sense of mourning for everyone's lack of freedom. there is constraint, restriction and imprisonment and people are facing oppression from within their own minds: 'mind-forg'd manacles' thus limiting their imagination.
"man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"
-Rousseau

| Posted on 2008-05-17 | by a guest


.: Revolution? :.

Perhaps the use of the words: "weakness" and "woe" suggest that Blake is more horrified that despite the corruption and exploitation of the people, they are too weak to rebel and follow the French. He understands that if the English cannot rebel against such terrors then they it is probable that they never will.
The "mind-forg'd manacles" could refer to how the Government and the Monarch have suppressed the people so much that they are unable to join together and fight for their own freedom. The soldiers are dying (symbolise lack of fight), the children/infants are being killed before they can form a resistance and the adults barely have enough strength to live let alone fight.
Their lack of enthusiasm is spreading across generations, which is what enabled things that are natural and beautiful and free (the Thames) to become controlled by corruption.
Prehaps, Blake is criticising the people for letting all this happen and not standing up for themselves?

| Posted on 2008-05-17 | by a guest


.: poem analogy :.

London, yes London,
Cheesey and well,
I beleive I saw Flundon,
But i couldn't quite tell!
As i began to walk down the road,
I couldn't help notice, a fat little toad,
I walked to him, yes,
And asked him to dress,
For why, i didn't know, his own little mode.
Hmm! yes. It is a good little poem is it not?
I beleive I shall take another little stroll shortly.
Thankyou very much young roogys!
Oh, and for all you young ones out there,
a smiley face:
:-)

| Posted on 2008-04-10 | by a guest


.: Romanticism :.

If we analyse the times in which Blake wrote this as well as his beliefs of a corrupt church and regimentation of his natural world it becomes clear that he has created paradigms between the physical and the metaphorical aspects of his 'London'. Romantics believed in the individual and ones personal relationship with God and instead we read here of Blake's recognition of the corruption of the church by referencing its 'blackening' walls but regarding the literal meaning of blackening it is direct reference to the industrial revolution. His repetition of the word 'chartered' not only gives the image of a structured and highly unnatural environment, but also relates back to the repetition of the poem itself to emphasise the monotony of the town in which he lives. The blood that runs down the palace walls refers to soldiers who are being exploited by the monarchy and are uselessly defending and fighting for a country run by aristocrats, driven by the possibility of exploitation purely for monetary gain. In reference to the harlot's curse, Blake refers to prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases essentially, and infants who are growing up with this as the foundation for their primary years.

| Posted on 2008-04-09 | by a guest


.: :.

i feel that london is about how william is dissapionting as he sounds angry that people pass by, that people ignore the magnificence and look straight to the ugliness. They think that they have surpassed this place, which they call their capital.

| Posted on 2008-04-03 | by a guest


.: well... :.

To be honest this poem rather strikes a sausage bean with my chord. I mean, the thought of William Blake Jotting down all this 'Shanizzle' is rather inspiring. So a few days ago I decided to give a little stroll myself through London and jot down a few things and make a poem. This is how it turned out:
London, yes London,
Cheesey and well,
I beleive I saw Flundon,
But i couldn't quite tell!
As i began to walk down the road,
I couldn't help notice, a fat little toad,
I walked to him, yes,
And asked him to dress,
For why, i didn't know, his own little mode.
Hmm! yes. It is a good little poem is it not?
I beleive I shall take another little stroll shortly.
Thankyou very much young roogys!
Oh, and for all you young ones out there,
a smiley face:
:-)
ho ho. I enjoyed this greatly. ta ta.

| Posted on 2008-03-06 | by a guest


.: subject matter :.

Liek dat other person befroe I agree...so i used some ideas ta combin m' opinion
The poem describes a journey around London, offering a glimpse of what the speaker sees, such as the terrible conditions faced by inhabitants. Pun (The word “Charter’d” implies a meaning of given liberty, but also means such places are foreseen as private property)
• Imagery (For example the use of “mind-forged manacles” expresses so much in such a little space. Two images are conveyed and it shows the tension between internal and external forces that take away freedom as well as a mental restriction is in place upon the people of London)

Child labour, restrictive property laws and prostitution are all explored.
The poem starts with criticism of laws relating to property ownership. The "charter'd Thames" is a bitter reference to the way every aspect of life in London is owned, even the river - so often in other poems a symbol of life, freedom and the power of nature.
Blake's poem also criticises religion. The speaker draws attention to the cry of the chimney sweeper and the blackening of church walls, implying that the Church as an institution is inactive, unwilling to help those in need. Punctuation (Many important keywords like Man and Infants are capitalised)
It ends with a vision of the terrible consequences of sexually transmitted disease.

• Repetition (For example “In every” is repeated several times)

| Posted on 2008-02-10 | by a guest


.: depressing!!!! :.

This poem London by William Blake is all about the dark side of London. It seems this poet is very angry about the restrictions of the city and that the people of England dont stand up and rebel. Blake wants the reader to think of London as a place of restriction and bans. Even though the poem was wrote years ago it reminds me about how it is now. There are so many rules laws bans and boundaries.

| Posted on 2007-12-13 | by a guest


.: depressing!!!! :.

This poem London by William Blake is all about the dark side of London. It seems this poet is very angry about the restrictions of the city and that the people of England dont stand up and rebel. Blake wants the reader to think of London as a place of restriction and bans. Even though the poem was wrote years ago it reminds me about how it is now. There are so many rules laws bans and boundaries.

| Posted on 2007-12-13 | by a guest


.: SAM MOHENU :.

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| Posted on 2007-12-07 | by a guest




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