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Compare and contrast Turner’s “It’s great to be Back” and Blake’s “London”

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I will be comparing and contrasting two famous poems by William Blake and Steve Turner. They are both poets who are writing about cities. Blake’s poem is a lot older as it was written in the seventeenth century and Turner’s poem is modern and so there is a big difference between the two in languages. This is because language changes lot over the years and so would have developed differently. I will be describing the different tones in the languages and how the two poets write and portray the good and bad side of the cities etc.

Turner uses repetitions in this poem. He uses words such as “Everyone”, and “I”, as he is talking about everyone in America. The word “I” is referring to the things that he likes. Turner makes use of the old folk song “Home on the Range.” He is making out that the country is good when it is actually bad.

“Where the assassins roam and the murderers play.”

William Blake uses repetitions such as “chartered, Mark and cry.

He uses these words more than once but changes the meaning of the word to make it more original and different. He uses the words “In every” which is meaning every one in the grim and dark side of London.

The two poets both make references bout the sex industry. Turner describes “the centrefolds playing” and “the huge hefners roam.” He is really talking about Hugh Hefner, the inventor of playboy. This tells us that Turner has no respect for him as he has played around with his name to make a joke. Blake talks about the “Harlot’s curse”, an archaic word meaning a prostitute. She may have been forced into prostitution, as there were not many ways for women to make money back in the seventeenth century as only men worked in those days.

Both poems include death in them. In Blake’s poem, it describes, “The hapless soldiers sigh runs in blood down palace walls”. It means the soldier is angry that he has been sent to war to almost certainly get killed. But in Turner’s poem he talks about “the assassins roam and the murderers play”. As in Blake’s poem Turner also talks about prostitution and the diseases you can get from it which can kill.

Both poets talk about the environment. The language used is different in both, mainly because one of them is modern and the other old. Blake talks about the city of London and how grim and polluted it is.

“Every blackening church appals”. The word “blackening.” It means the dirty, church and the polluted city. Turner says “the sky needs scraping” meaning that the sky needs scraping of all the pollution. These are both metaphors. They are used to make their points clear, although they are not literal.

Turner’s poem is more fluent. It does not contain an even length but he changes the point in each stanza. Blake however, only talks about bad sides such as death, prostitution etc, despite the fact that each stanza has a rhythm to it and contains four lines in each.

Blake talks about “How the chimney sweeper’s cry”

This refers to how badly poor people were treated in those days. It could be the cries of the chimneysweeper. However, Turner talks about exploitation of women going into prostitution. He writes it with joke-full humour and it is a lot more hidden than how Blake writes it. Blake is a bit more open and when he comes to talk about prostitution he writes it in a serious manner using no jokes or playful humour.

Both poems have their own different tone. Blake’s poem is very miserable and depressing. Turner’s is more sarcastic about the bad side of the city as he uses phrases such as “where the huge hefners roam”.

From reading both I happen to prefer “It’s great to be back” by Steve Turner. I think it portrays the city more, as it talks about the city, the environment, famous people, and the bad side of America. However “London” by William Blake is far more sad and depressing. It talks about the prostitutes in the night, but failed to write about anything joyous.

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