20th century poems and say if they are socially and historically interesting
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All these poems have something in common. Every poem has its own socially or historically interest to it. Blake is a man who is socially and historically ahead of his time.
William Blake wrote ‘The Little Black Boy’ at the time of the slave trade. Straight away in this poem Blake writes it as if it is coming from a child’s voice. For example ‘my mother bore me’. This shows that ‘bore’ tells us that this is a pre 20th century word for gave birth to. This also shows that if Blake writes it in a child’s voice then people will take notice, but if it is in an adult’s voice then people won’t bother to listen.
Blake is also trying to point out that black people and white people are equal. For example ‘I am black but my soul is white’. This shows that they are not the same because blacks were different in those days. William Blake also says that if you are black then no one will care for you or take notice of you. For example ‘I am black as if bereav’d of light’. This shows me that by using the words ‘bereav’d of light’ tells us that William Blake is trying to create sympathy from the reader whilst trying not to aggravate the reader. It also shows that this little black boy will be deprived of life.
In the second verse Blake is trying to point out to his generation that a little black boy would not understand why he is treated differently. For example ‘taught me underneath a tree’. This shows me that this boy will have a hard life ahead of him. This also shows that if they are sitting under a tree for shade then it might be a hot country. The mother knows that the boy is going to be badly treated so she makes up a story. For example ‘taught me on her lap’. This shows me that the black mother is trying to show what a good mother she is.
Blacks were treated as servants. For example ‘put on earth a little space’. This shows me that slaves don’t live long. Blake is aiming this poem at white people telling them about black people. For example ‘and these black bodies’. This shows that black and white people are not equal otherwise Blake would have said ‘these bodies’ therefore Blake is criticising his own people.
Blake is trying to point out that white and black people are equal. For example ‘when I from black and he from white cloud free and round the tent of God like lambs we joy’. This shows that black skin and white skin are like masks and ‘lambs’ meaning innocent and pure. Blake is also trying to point out that black people are kind and caring. For example ‘I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear’. This shows me that blacks can take the heat and whites burn. The black boy wants to be like the white boy. For example ‘be like him’ and then ‘he will love me’. This wouldn’t happen in those days that’s why this poem is historically interesting because times have changed and white and black people are now equal.
In ‘The Little Black Boy’ William Blake is criticising the slave trade, and in ‘The Little Vagabond’ William Blake is criticising the Church, so these two poems are similar. They are also similar on how William Blake writes both these poems in a child’s voice.
This ‘Little Vagabond’ lives in the ‘cold church’ were it is very emotional. Yet again Blake is catching your attention by writing it in a child’s voice. For example ‘Dear Mother’. This shows that he is telling his feelings to God. Blake puts across the idea that if people want people to go to church then they have to make it more appealing. For example ‘give us ale, a pleasant fire and food’. This shows me that the church is not doing this therefore children are going to ‘ale-houses’ and thinking ‘it’s healthy, pleasant and warm’. This also shows that there will be a drink problem and this is all due to the church for not bring food and warmth.
If they had food they would ‘pray each day’ and ‘then the Parson might drink and sing’. The church doesn’t do this for the children therefore William Blake is criticising the church for this.
Some other poems that I found had comparison was ‘Infant Joy’ and ‘Infant Sorrow’. In ‘Infant Joy’ the parents are happy to have this ‘sweet’ baby. This shows the baby is innocent. The parents are spending time with the baby. For example ‘Thou dost smile’. This shows that the mother is there to see the baby smile. The mother is deciding the name and decides to call it joy because the baby is ‘happy’. She also thinks her baby is ‘pretty’. This shows that she cares for her baby and will give it a happy life. For example ‘sweet Joy befall thee’.
In ‘Infant Sorrow’ it’s a disaster, it’s another mouth to feed, and the parents don’t want it. For example ‘my father wept’. This shows me that this is the high point of desperation because men wouldn’t cry in those days. It is ‘dangerous’ for him to live in this world. There are no clothes for him to wear. For example ‘naked’. This shows how poor they are.
‘Struggling in my fathers hands’, I wonder if William Blake is suggesting that the father has the temptation of hurting this baby? In ‘infant Sorrow’ we now know that this is a poem about an unhappy start to life.
Another poem I looked at was by William Wordsworth, this was also about London. This poem was a ‘one off’ poem because Wordsworth was walking along the road and then he stopped to see this spectacular view and wrote it down in a poem.
This poem is about the beauty of London early in the morning. For example ‘has not anything to show more fair’. This shows me that there is nothing as beautiful as this view. Wordsworth is also saying that you would be dull not to realise that this is a beautiful sight. For example ‘dull he would be of soul who could pass by’. This shows me that Wordsworth has taken time to stop and that he felt something and wanted to write it down to share his experience.
Wordsworth is saying the morning is ‘silent’ and ‘bare’. This shows that he doesn’t mean there’s nothing there he means the ugliness has gone and there is only beauty left. Wordsworth talks about how he can see ‘fields’. I find this historically interesting because you would never find a field in London today. Wordsworth also comments on how the air is ‘smokeless’. This shows that normally you would see fumes coming out of the chimneys in the day but you don’t at dawn. The poet also comments on when the sun comes up it lights the ‘valley, rock, or hill’. I find this historically interesting because this tells me its open landscape.
Wordsworth is making London into a human by using ‘heart is lying still’. This shows me that London is not pumping away with its river traffic and people.