Comparison of 20th century prose Essay

The two poems I am comparing take opposing views of London. William Blake shows the darker side of London and William Wordsworth looks at the city through rose tinted glasses, seeing only the beauty of London.

In London the opening stanza gives you the feeling of monotony and restrictions that people are sad about. I think this because the ” charted” gives the idea of being mapped and therefore limiting. I think the Stanza is sad as it mentions the “Marks of woe” and “weakness” which brings out the idea of beaten in restrictions. The repetition of the words chartered and Marks reinforce the feeling of restriction and sadness.

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In the middle two stanzas there seems to be an impression of great hate, fear and yet more restriction. The feeling of hate I get from the phrase “how the chimney-sweeps cry, Every blackening church appals” because it seems to be saying that the chimney sweep is cursing the church, which is disgusted(appalled) at what has become of London. The sense of fear I get from the next two lines “And the hapless soldiers sigh, runs in blood down palace walls” It seems to show, to me, that their will be a revolution in which the mob comes to the palace whilst the soldier is on guard and he is unlucky (hapless) enough to be killed, the only reason I think Blake says that blood runs down the palace wall is to make it extreme enough to grasp everyone’s attention. I think this revolution would come around, in theory, because the sense of oppression from being restricted and hate has risen to such a point where the commoners are fed up and rise up against the ruling classes.

The ending to this poem I think is fitting as it shows the unhappiness of the people more clearly in the “youthful harlots curse” upon the infant. My interpretation of this part is that the infant represents all the innocent people in London whilst the Harlot shows all the people who have been oppressed. The only confusing picture is that of a marriage hearse it shows that what people think of as a happy occasion is just another cause for sorrow and the idea of the two people being tied down by each other and a family.

Composed upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

Composed upon Westminster bridge by William Wordsworth is a sonnet. The start of it is very light and contains a statement about the reader. This sonnet is a complete contrast to London.

The central part of this sonnet describes the city as being silent, relaxed and beautiful. It describes the city as “Open unto the fields, and the sky”, which is totally the opposite of the other poem as that is restricted. This part of the poem is also emotive as it makes the reader feel relaxed and happy.

I think the ending to the poem is fitting. The way Wordsworth says “and all that mighty heart is lying still”, seems to say that although the city is sleeping now it will be even more beautiful in the morning. In this part Wordsworth says “the river glideth at his own sweet will”, if we take the river in the same sense as we did in London (as a reflection of the spirit of the people) then it shows that people feel relaxed and content with themselves and don’t feel restricted. The way he Wordsworth says “the very houses feel asleep” suggests relaxation, which in turn implies contentment, which means that people are happy and follows the idea of being unrestrained. The suggestion of people being unrestrained arouses feelings of happiness and a slight feeling of righteousness in the reader.

Blake is describing the depths of depravity to which people have sunk, whilst Wordsworth is describing the stupendous heights to which the creative genius of humanity has reached. These two points are tremendously extreme but for very good reasons.

Blake I think wants to show what people feel like, how they are treated and how they treat each other. He wants the reader to know what is happening without any good side so people can see it in all its sordid glory. He writes the poem, in my opinion, so that he can worn the ruling classes about the slowly rising feel of hatred that could easily spill over in to a popular uprising or rebellion. I think that he includes the Marks to show how deeply ingrained the feelings are, into the people.

Wordsworth wants to point out the beauty of humanity, to show how beautiful human creations can be and to show the amazing ability that people have to make beautiful things. He points out the splendour of the architecture and the majesty of the ships.


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