A student’s analysis of ‘A Dream’ and ‘London’

A Dream- William Blake

Taken from ‘Songs of Innocence’, the poem by William Blake ‘A Dream’ you see a man who left home, then finds his way home. However is also possible that he had found his way to some form of heavenly home, which is a recurring theme in Blake’s poems such as ‘The Chimney Sweep’. The tone of this poem seems to be very dark and gives the very strong image of someone being lost, as a reader you feel fairly sympathetic for towards character especially as the start of the fourth stanza; ‘I dropped a tear’ and when the rhetoric question ‘do they hear their father sigh?’. Both of these quotes also suggest that the traveller isn’t away from home out of choice and thus creates further sympathy. The tone of the poem put further emphasis on the point that the traveller may have found some form of heavenly sanction rather than finding his way back to his actual home.

London- William Blake

This poem was taken from William Blake’s writings in ‘Songs of Experience’ and basically speaks about the division between rich and poor, he especially puts emphasis on the misery of the poor people. Blake focuses mostly on pain and misery throughout this poem through lines such as ‘in every infants cry of fear’ which presents a certain amount of imagery for the reader, and may make them quite uncomfortable. This feeling is kept up through the whole poem and shows that Blake wants to show the city of London at its worst and shows his dislike for the way people were having to live during that time.

 

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Blake’s ‘A Dream’: a heart-broken ant moans about her crying children and is saved by a glow worm

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Once a dream did weave a shade,
O’er my Angel-guarded bed,
That an Emmet lost it’s way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled wilderd and forlorn
Dark, benighted travel-worn
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke I heard her say.

O my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh.
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.

Pitying I drop’d a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near:
Who replied, What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night.

I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetles hum,
Little wanderer hie thee home.

You can find different versions of this poem here.

Questions to answer on the poem

 

What effects are created when the poem is read aloud or sung?

What interests you most about the poem? Why?

What questions might you ask about the poem?

What is the poem about?

What effects does the language create?

What is the effect of the poem’s structure and form?

What are the similarities and differences between other texts?

How do other people interpret this poem? Find sources/links…

What might make a good creative response to the poem?

How might you teach this poem?