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City Lendon Poem Analysis

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Although the poems London by William Blake and City Johannesburg by Mongane Wally Serote are written in two different time periods, and two different settings, they both share one common theme: Man’s lack of freedom. In both of the poems, this lack of freedom is shown to be caused by the misuse of human power. As a result, the poems reveal that the poets also have one common reaction to the hardship and oppression they experience: they turn to develop a disliking for their home.
However, the poets have two different approaches to conveying their messages. Through structure, the reader can notice that William Blake boasts technicality and an unambiguous literary construction of his poem. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD, and consists
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At the beginning of the poem, the persona describes his home as “golden Landon and her silver river themes”. The use of shining colours such as silver and gold to describe Landon reveals his deep love for the city. However, he is now contemplating whether his home will become the bloodshed misery that was France during their (at the time) recent revolution, should the British government continue to oppress the democratic civilians. It is strange though, that the industrialisation of London is portrayed as a negative thing in this poem, because one could imagine that the development of a country is widely welcomed by most. Moving on, the poet goes on to illustrate the misuse use of power once more as the words “Church” and “Palace” are revealed in the same stanza (stanza four). It seems that the poet has done this to finally address that the church itself is promoting oppression, as they allow the rich to get richer, and the poor to stay poor. William Blake is known to have always disliked the church for this reason, despite his deep belief in the spiritual world. In the second last stanza he has used this disapproval to cleverly bring together two emotions, hardship and oppression, and prepare the reader for the final…show more content…
This is primarily due to the poverty he lives in. The persona uses striking imagery when he says, ‘My hand like a starved snake rears my pockets for my thin ever lean wallet’. This simile directly compares the dry, waterless skin of a snake to that of the persona’s, showing that he lives in shortage of his basic needs. It also suggests that he is anxious as he is frantically searching his pockets to find whatever money he can; but his wallet is empty. This anxiety is further emphasised through craftsmanship as the writer includes sixteen syllables in this one line, portraying the persona as someone who is distressed and desperate. The poet proceeds to metaphorically reinforce the persona’s diet shortage when he says, ‘My stomach also devours coppers and papers’, suggesting that his hunger controls his money, and that he is in desperation because he barely has enough money for his basic
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