William Blake uses this poem in order to convey a message to the
audience regarding childhood. He does this by using various literary
and linguistic approaches throughout this piece of writing.
The reader can depict that there are two voices used in this poem and
they have been presented in a creative way. Blake has chosen to write
six stanzas; the first three in the voice of a child, and the second
three in the voice of himself. In the first three stanzas, Blake
demonstrates contrasts between the feelings of the child. The first
stanza is written in the first person narrative, which gives the text
a more personal effect.
“I love to rise in the summer morn”
This opening line ...view middle of the document...
The mood of the poem suddenly changes and the
reader is made aware of the fact that the child does not enjoy the
process in which he is educated.
Various contrasts are made throughout the poem to symbolise the
contrasting feelings of the child when in the outdoors compared to
when at school.
“I love to rise in a summer morn” is contrasting to “… at times I
The author has used opposing verbs in these lines, which shows the
difference between what the child voice feels towards two different
settings. These two sentences give the reader the impression that the
child is eager to get up in the mornings to explore the outdoors
whereas dreads getting up in the morning knowing that he has to attend
school. The lexical choice of ‘drooping’ is associated with sadness,
which creates a negative image to the reader concerning school. At
this point, the reader feels empathy for the child. They imagine what
it must be like from being happy, to ‘sighing’. The whole of the
second and third paragraphs have an unenthusiastic tone to them.
The author uses a metaphor in the second and third paragraphs. Blake
portrays the classroom the child is in as a cage. The child feels
trapped, feels like he has no choice but to be in the classroom and
feels as if he is locked in an environment he would rather not be in.
The child is eager to learn, but would rather be learning amongst the
natural world. The reader gets the impression that the child feels
like he is trapped in this classroom mentally as well as physically.
He has to stay inside the four walls of the classroom therefore is
physically trapped, but the child also feels like he does not have the
freedom to think and learn to an extent in which he may want to
because the education system only allows specific things to be taught.
In the second stanza, the author uses the lexical choices “cruel eye
outworn”. This shows that the child voice feels as if he has a cruel
eye watching over him. He is referring to the teacher at this point.
He feels as if the teacher is dominating him and feels pressurized.
The sentence structure is written in an effective way. Blake uses a
pre-modifier, a noun, then a post modifier. This use of modifiers
before and after the noun emphasizes the fact that the child dislikes
school and feels like he is being watched over.
The final three stanzas of the poem are written in the voice of Blake
himself. In comparison to the first three stanzas, the voice of Blake
seems extremely authoritative and challenging. It is written in the
declarative voice. Blake beginning various lines with rhetorical
questions shows this.
“How can the bird that is born for joy...”, “How can a child, when
The word “how” is the word that introduces a question. The fact that
rhetorical questions are asked shows that the voice in these three
paragraphs is extremely confident and is willing to challenge other
ideas with his own...