The Theme of Alienation in William Blake's 'the Little Vagabond'

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Zahid Islam

Instructor-ELT

18th Century English Literature

10 April 2011

The Theme of Alienation in Blake 's The Little Vagabond

Thesis: The central character in William Blake 's poem becomes alienated from society because

of the hardships and ill-treatment he has to undergo at the hands of people in authority.

Zahid Islam

Instructor-ELT

18th Century English Literature

10 April 2011

The Theme of Alienation in Blake 's The Little Vagabond

The concept of alienation is a common theme in
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The second stanza makes it even clearer that the so-called 'vagabond ' is fed

up with the hypocrisy of traditional religion which provides no comfort or pleasure to those

compelled by circumstances to take refuge in a church:

But, if at the Church they would give us some ale

And a pleasant fire our souls to regale:

We 'd sing and we 'd pray all the live-long day,

Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

The sheer helplessness of the under-privileged and exploited members of society forces them

to become introspective and alienated from those around them. The protagonist in Blake 's

poem is clearly being sarcastic when he says:

And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at Church

Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

The plaintive tone of the poem is remarkable for its coherence, and the reader is left in no doubt

about the central character 's preference for a life in the ale-house to a life in the church. Due to

the fact that Blake wrote this poem to appear as if written for young children, the rhyme scheme ,

consisting mostly of couplets in stanzas 2, 3, and 4, is similar to the style in vogue

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