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William Blake Holy Thursday (Experience)
Transcript of William Blake Holy Thursday (Experience)
Language: William Blake
Experience Holy Thursday is
the day before
Jesus died, it is
day of the last
he was betrayed
by Judas. It is also the day when orphans go to St. Paul's Cathedral, to praise their benefactors. The Anglican poem that attaches the characteristics of children to the weekday that they were born dictates that "Thursday's Child has far to go" Quakers traditionally refer to Thursday as "Fifth Day" eschewing the pagan origin of the English name "Thursday".
This day is the biblical fifth day on which according to the Book of Genesis, God created the insects, fish, reptiles and birds The church are usually the organisation that takes care of the poor, It seems that Blake is questioning the relevance /effectiveness of their efforts. "Babes" refers to the
orphan's who instead
of being looked after
are crying in misery
and starvation. This line is interpreted to mean that England's expansion of the empire and sudden industrialisation has lead to a prosperous economy that is able to give more to the poor. Usurous- the archaic spelling of usurious which is the practicing usury; charging illegal or exorbitant rates of interest for the use of money: a usurious moneylender. This line is often understood to be Blake's horror at the
Workhouse - an institution of slavery, where poor people would put their children to work and they would sleep and be fed their but in appalling conditions. At the Mourndy Thursday service the children and poor were expected to sing Hymns in praise of their benefactors and the Lord. Blake is ironically comparing their pangs of starvation to a Hymn, because there is little for the poor to be thankful for. The use of rhetorical questions has been suggested that Blake intended to challenge societies acceptance of the poor and their lack of protective rights. Many of those in the work house were women and children whose husbands had died with no means to support themselves. The property act allowing women to keep earnings before and after marriage was enabled in 1882 This line is contrary to the second line of the first stanza where it states "In a rich and fruitful land". Critics have interpreted this antithesis to mean a 'parallel allegory', that is to say there are two metaphors running alongside each other. 1) That the Country as an authority and business prospers, and 2) That the authority is crushing the poor. The first workhouse was set up in 1725 as a charitable way to help the poor, But by 1777 they had become corrupted and were a way of exploiting cheap labor. Workhouses were famous for their poor conditions and lack of sunlight, it is recorded that those children who were born in a workhouse squinted at daylight because it was such a rare occurrence. Children were usually working in lace or with cloth, the thorns could literally be symbolic of needles which they work with, or more figuratively thorns are obstacles they cant pass. Blake is making the statement that in England there is, rainfall and sunshine, perfect conditions for growing crops. Henceforth there is no foreseeable reason for poverty. Links To Tis Pity
3)Injustice This line could also be interpreted to mean that their significant others are never happy. The semantic field has connotations of
real life of pain and despair. Parallels can be made between this quote and the cliche phrase "The grass is greener on the other side." Key quotes "Threatens an eternal slaughter to the soul” Act II Scene V
"justice is fled to heaven”Act III scene IX
“and all the gold and jewels, confiscate by the cannons of the church” Act V Scene VI There is an irregular rhyming pattern Sporadic line length and syllables 12 lines which is often referred to the disciples present at the last supper. Each stanza has 4 set stanza's Archaic Bleak semantic fields Anti-authoritative imagery Blake is making the statement that inhumane for a country to let people be hungry, especially children/orphans. The Innocence poem is richer in description, when in experience the lack of words makes the painting look more bleak. Innocence actually discusses holy Thursday while experience is a lot more ambiguous as to what Blake is actually discussing.