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Comparing and contrasting Poems. William Blake. Choose any two poems that we have studied so far…. Think about…

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choose any two poems that we have studied so far
Choose any two poems that we have studied so far…

Think about…

What ideas about society are being explored in the poems? (It does not matter if they are different!) Eg. Blake’s critique on how we view God and suffering, the role of the Church, the treatment of children, racial prejudice

which poem do you feel most confident writing about
Which poem do you feel most confident writing about?

Write a clear topic sentence introducing this poem.

State the main idea, the speaker and the tone. Explain if it is found in ‘Songs of Innocence’ or ‘Experience’?


How are these things similar/different to your second poem? Write a clear statement about the speaker, tone and main message of the second poem.

Use linking words:

  • In contrast, the voice in the second poem…
  • Similarly, in the second poem…
  • This social critique is further explored…
  • The key idea is juxtaposed…
  • This tone is continued…
analysing imagery
Analysing Imagery

Find 2-3 examples of imagery from both poems.

  • What are the images?
  • Are there different types of imagery - visual/aural?
  • What ideas does the imagery convey?
  • Explain the examples from both poems.
  • How does the imagery develop the tone of the poems?

Animal imagery, Biblical imagery, pastoral imagery


Social critique

In the opening stanza of ‘The Little Black Boy’, Blake incorporates the imagery of ‘the southern wild’, insinuating society’s perception of Africa as uncivilised and barbaric. He continues society’s prejudiced views by referring to the English child as ‘white as an angel’, whereas the ‘little black boy’ feels he is lacking either innocence, love or acceptance as he is ‘black as if bereav’d of light’. The use of colour imagery to convey inequality and innocence is also evident in ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ when Tom was told that ‘the soot cannot spoil your white hair’.

How meaning is created

Link to other poem


Type of imagery

Connection between poems

The Biblical image in ‘Little Black Boy’ of ‘the cloud will vanish…and round my golden tent like lambs rejoice’ is linked to pastoral imagery of the chimney sweepers ‘down a green plain leaping…And wash in a river…in the Sun’. This imagery conveys the innocence and equality of the children in heaven, however, Blake’s underlying critique is that these children will only find love, acceptance and equality after death, and that society accepts this notion.

Purpose of the image

Social criticism


Comment on the structure of both poems.

How many stanzas?

How many lines in the stanza?

Is it like a song or a longer narrative?

How does it look on the page?

Does it make it simple? Childlike? Complex?

Why was this structure chosen?

Write a paragraph in which you compare the structure of both

rhyme and rhythm
Rhyme and Rhythm

Write a paragraph about the rhyme and rhythm of the poem. Use these words:

  • Assonance
  • Alliteration
  • aabb/ababrhyming schema
  • Pace
  • Does the rhythm develop a faster pace, tension, anger, frustration
  • Is it a softer rhythm – showing resignation, acceptance, happiness.