'London' By William Blake (Language ('the hapless Soldiers…
'London' By William Blake
'mind-forged manacles I hear'
'manacles' is a reference to slavery and how slaves are chained up literally and figuratively having they freedoms and rights taken away by someone else
'mind-forged' is also a reference to the common belief in Victorian society that the poor were the way they were because they weren't working hard enough or it was due to their own bad decisions and wrong doings in life
Metaphor- the people in distress didn't just have physical restraints, they also had mental restraints set on them by themselves
'Every black'ning Church appalls'
'appalls' means they are going pale
Before industrialisation church and religion was a way that people celebrated God and was a big part of their lives, however after the social and economic changes to society there was an increase of people giving up on God because they felt let down that so many awful things can happen in their lives
The church only celebrates death now, not religion, due to the spike in early deaths and death related to disease and poor living conditions in industrial cities
'the hapless Soldiers sigh, Runs in blood down Palace walls'
Presents the premise that the rich and powerful were sending the poor to war for almost no reason yet feel no guilt for the soldier's death
Hyperbole and use of shocking imagery to suggest the deaths of the young poor men in war are the responsibility of the rich
'Runs in blood down Palace walls' was a popular phrase at the time because of current events
Could potentially be compared to modern wars such as WW1 or 2 where millions of soldiers and civilians died because of govenments and leaders either forcing them to fight or putting their lives at risk; poses the ultimate question of how futile war is and why does human nature allow us to destroy?
Lots of repetition used
Emphasises the relentless struggle of the poor
In stanza two 'every' is repeated thrice; the strain on this word is to show that these horrors and unthinkable tragedies were happening to 'every' person he saw and not just a select few he decided to focus on or use to prove a point
Also proves that this is not uncommon and is a widespread problem in poor Victorian society that perhaps need to solved
Wealth divide in Victorian England
There's a moral dilemma within the rich of whether to help the poor or not
After industrialisation there was a stark contrast within the different living conditions of the wealthy upperclass and the 'dirt poor' lower, working class
There was no middle class so the majority of people were workers in factories and were cogs in the massive machine that moved industries suchas textiles forward
The daily reality that poor people faced were conscription into a war they didn't start (or necessarily wanted), death, disease, crime, child labour and infant mortality; these issues is what Blake touches on in 'London'
Involved with both the symbolism and romanticism movement via his poetry and artwork
Born and lived in London for most of his life
His vision of civilisation as inevitably chaotic and contradictory mirrors the political turmoil of the era he lived through
Industrialised Britain- the good, the bad & the ugly
By the 1800's London was the most populated city in the world thanks to the mass migration from rural towns and villages into large working cities such as Bristol and Liverpool
The reason there was such a huge influx of young workers was because of the opportunity industrial life promised them; most people believed they could earn far more money and stability working in a factory than on a farm, some were true however the long hours, inhumane conditions & abuse from bosses drove many to living in slums and sending their children to work as young as five because the family just couldn't survive
1st person narrative
Viewpoint of Blake himself and what he sees as he walks around the city
As the narrator is coming from a place of not being familiar with the poverty of central London it is just as sobering for the (at the time) wealthy reader to learn about the conditions and horrors of the industrialised city as it is for Blake
The almost 'innocent' perspective that it is gives the reader a raw emotional human response to the surroundings
Rhyming couplets is used to represent how the rich and poor live side by side yet are drastically different; also couplets could represnt the continued cycle for the poor that is passed down generations and is no way out of