William Blake + Kenneth Slessor: How Poetry is Used to Express Interests and Concerns in Distinctive Ways

Essay by bogannHigh School, 10th gradeA+, February 2007

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

William Blake expresses his interests and concerns relating to the Industrial Revolution in his poem 'A Divine Image', as does the poet Kenneth Slessor in his poem 'Beach Burial', where he portrays distress over the brutality and horror of the first World War. Through Blake's use of personification, imagery and repetition, and Slessor's employment of plosive sounds, juxtaposition and lexis with negative connotations, both reflect their thoughts and ideas on subjects which were significant to them. Their expert use of distinctive poetic techniques allows the responder to see their perspectives on such issues.

Blake's 'A Divine Image' is a protest against the Industrial Revolution and the dreadful impact it had on the people of that time. By comparing negative human emotions to human features and terrifying machinery, he expresses his disagreement of how machines took over the labour force, leaving the working class in desperate poverty: "The human dress is forged iron, The human form a fiery forge".

His use of intense imagery of the machinery recreates his views of machines as evil and heartless, such as when he describes a "furnace sealed" and a "hungry gorge". The iambic rhythm and traditional rhyme scheme reflect a steady mechanical beating, again showing Blake's portrayal of machinery as inhumane.

In the poem, Blake also personifies negative human emotions by capitalizing the first letter, as in a name, and comparing them to human features as before mentioned: "Cruelty has a human heart, and Jealousy a human face". By comparing such feelings as cruelty, jealousy and terror to physical human characteristics as well as brutal machinery, Blake comments on the violence that humans are also capable of, seeing as the well-off upper class had hardly any sympathy at all for the suffering of the lower classes. Through constant repetition of the word "human", he...