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An Analysis of "London" by William Blake

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Regine Vincent

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of An Analysis of "London" by William Blake

Child Labor and Education
By Shekinah Dosunmu
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles
I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
In this line Blake uses the word "mark".
He states that he sees "marks" on "each face".
He then describes these marks as being those of "weakness" and "woe". This indicates that Blake is describing different Facial expressions because the "marks" are on "faces" and they can also be described as emotions. (Blake).
During Blake's time many children were
working from the tender ages of five. Some
even before that. A very common job
that young children had was chimney sweeping
because they were small enough to actually do the
job.
This phrase indicates that the problem that
people face are not as a result of uncontrollable forces, but as a result of ourselves. Blake inclusion of the word "mind" in this phrase indicates that the problem lies in the way a person thinks (Blake). Because a person thinks in the way they were taught to think a conclusion can be made that Blake attributes the problem to education.
The "harlots" are described as "youthful". "Youthful" in this case would probably mean young in age (Blake). Seeing as being a "harlot" is something most females would avoid, it appears that they were made so not because of preference but because of a lack of choices. The fact that the "youthful harlots curse" indicates that they are unhappy with their situation seeing as people don't commonly curse when they are happy (Blake).
Because Blake states that he hears "the mind-forged
manacles" "In every infant" and "every Man", there
appears to be no difference between
children and adults (Blake). Because both children
and adults are dealing with "mind-forged
manacles", a conclusion can be made that children
and adults have similar though processes (Blake). This probably means that children were losing their innocence quickly.
An Analysis of "London" by William Blake
"London"
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And

mark in every face

I meet
Marks of weakness,

marks of woe.

In every
cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The
mind-forg'd manacles
I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every
blackning
Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And
blights with plagues
the Marriage hearse
Shekinah D. Shannel O. Regine V.
The Gin Mania
by Regine Vincent
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And
mark in every face
I meet
Marks of weakness,
marks of woe.

In every
cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every
blackning
Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And
blights with plagues
the Marriage hearse
Slavery and Colonialism
By Shannel O'Neal
I wander thro' each
charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The
mind-forg'd manacles
I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every
blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
KEY:
Gin Mania/Infant Mortality
Child Labor/Education
Slavery/Colonialism

MEANING:
Works Cited
This line suggests that the destruction and suffering that has come has befallen all, because the word "every"(Blake). This word connotes a sense of "all" suggesting that no one is exempt (Blake)
Blake, William.
The House of Death
. 1790. Tate Gallery, London.
Tate
. Web. 20 May 2014.
Banerjee, Jacqueline. "One. Frail Treasures: Child Death and the Victorian Novel."One. Frail Treasures: Child Death and the Victorian Novel. The Victorian Web, 15 July 2007. Web. 12 May 2014.

Banerjee, Jacqueline. "The University of London." The University of London. Victorian Web, 5 Feb. 2007. Web. 14 May 2014.
Brown, Robert W. "London in the 19th Century." London in the 19th Century. UNPC, 16 Apr. 2004. Web. 12 May 2014


Abel, Ernest L. "Alcohol and Alcoholism." THE GIN EPIDEMIC: MUCH ADO ABOUT WHAT? Oxford University Press, 16 Mar. 2001. Web. 15 May 2014.
Adams, Susan. "When Gin Was In." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 Oct. 2002. Web. 15 May 2014.
"The House of Death"
By William Blake
This helps to show that suffering and destruction that the people have brought upon themselves has already hit , as "marks" of their pain (aka woe) is apparent on their faces (Blake). The word "woe" connotes a sense of sadness and distress which has affected all (Blake).
The suffering of the people is even more apparent as the they cry out and voice their misery. "Every" person and "voice" is said to "cry" out (Blake). Some are even said to cry out in "fear"(Blake).
This word helps to suggest at the deterioration and corruptness of society. The word has connotations of darkness and most notably evil. Deterioration is also associated with "blackning" as when things rot or deteriorate they most usually turn a black color (Blake).
Both the words "blights" and "plagues" connote sickness and malaise, yet these are usually associated with such infirmity lasting a long length of time. The word "plague" is usually associated with the Ten Deadly Plagues of the Bible which God sent down upon the Egyptians for not setting the Jews free. This helps to suggest that God may be punishing society for it's corruptness by sending down the "blights" and "plagues" which is responsible for the sigsn of "woe" and the cries of "every man" (Blake).
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And
mark in every face
I meet
Marks of weakness,
marks of woe.

In every
cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every
blackning
Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And
blights with plagues
the Marriage hearse
Every face in the print has a look of suffering or pain on it, very similar to the "marks of woe."
Two of the figures have looks of surprise/pain on their faces and their moths are open as if they are crying or screaming out.
The use of dark colors and a monotone theme lends in aura of darkness and suffering to the print. The corners of the room are shadowed, dark, and indistinct.
The man rushing in bearing a note, seems almost angelic. His flowing white beard and white clothes seem almost like wings. The man seems like an angel bringing down punishment and vengeance (in the form of the note in his hand) upon the people.
The gin mania led to what many contemporaries of the time believed to be moral decay and destruction of society. This had some truth as drunkenness and crime increased, and employment and social stability decreased. Many people at that time believed that if society didn't change then it would bring down the wrath of God upon itself.
Contemporaries of the time thought that the imprisonment and destruction of other human beings and their culture was leading to a morally corrupt society with hypocritical values
In this line Blake uses the word "manacles" which are shackles and are commonly used on people, implying that society at that time has a very slave like essence but it is "mind-forged" meaning that this blackened aurora that is corrupting society isn't something mother nature created but something man created in an attempt to become more civilized.
The phrase "blackening church" depicts the hypocritical views of society at that time, a person is supposed to be a good christian, but at the same time allowed to own slaves and corrupt and destroy other cultures simply because they do not have the same views as European society which is why the church is "blackening" the corruption of society is eating away at the purity church is supposed to have.
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The
mind-forg'd manacles
I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every
blackning Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
"Mind-forg'd Manacles"
by William Blake
Blake paints a man with a dark complexion in manacles which represents the enslavement of Africans.
Blake gives the man a very regal and innocent face with a long white beard, often associated with god. Also the sun rays behind the man are very halo like which gives the impression that the only righteous beings on earth are the ones enslaved and forced to integrate with western society that deems them worthless.
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face
I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice
: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro'
midnight
streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
"Characters Caricaturas"
by William Hogarth
The man appears
to be speaking.
He is using his
"voice".
The man the arrow is
pointing to is wearing what appears
to be a "soldier's" uniform.
The faces have expressions
that are unhappy and could be described
as weak or woeful.
This whole picture is consists of just faces.
All of these faces have shadows or "marks" on them.
No face is completely clear
Summery: This picture is related to the
poem in a very apparent way. The picture
consists of various faces that contain
various different expression of different
emotions. The poem also indicates faces and
different emotions. The Picture and poem however also indicate unity. In the picture, this is shown by the grey/white shading and in the poem it's shown by the repetition of the word every.
William Blake's poem, "London," portrays a society in decay and suggest that power and progression overrule morality.
Interactive Activity
During Blake's time period some people began to see the need for education. But educational facilities were lacking. Many of the working class also could not afford to send there children to school because the children also worked to help the family survive. Because of this children would grow up with fewer options. And the options they had were demoralizing.
"Child Labor in Factories During the Industrial Revolution." Child Labor in Factories During the Industrial Revolution. Needham.k12.ma.us, 2003. Web. 11 May 2014.


Cody, David."Child Labor". Victorian Web, 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 14 May 2014

Gillard, Derek. "Education in England - Chapter 2." Education in England - Chapter 2. N.p., 2011. Web. 13 May 2014.

Hogarth, William. “Characters Caricaturas.” 1743. Northwestern University.William
Hogarth and 18th Century Print Culture. Web. 20 May 2014.


1) How would you define the Gin Mania?

2) What job did the poem make reference to that children normally did?

3) Who drew the picture called "Mind Forged Manacles" ( hint: Shannel explained the picture)

4) The phrase "Mark in every face" could mean what?

Blake, William. Mind-forg’d Manacles. Department of Prints & Drawings, The British Museum. Culture 24. Alan Dawson, 30 Oct. 2007. Web 20 May 2014
Repetition:
Every
Cry
Mark

Strands:
Cry, voice, hear, curse, sigh-vocal, auditory words
Ban, manacles, walls-hindering words
Plagues, blood, blackening-dark imagery

Binaries:
Infant/Man

Charter companies were often established to set up colonies or overseas enterprises in foreign nations
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