V6 Alquin Romanticism 48-57 William Blake

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Slide 1: Video
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This lesson contains 51 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 9 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 60 min

Items in this lesson

Slide 1 - Video

How well did you see the apple in your mind's eye? 0 = not at all, 10 = photo realistically.

Slide 2 - Poll

Slide 3 - Video

Slide 4 - Slide

Write down facts about Blake while you watch the documentary. 
Use key words. 

Slide 5 - Slide

Slide 6 - Video

Write down 3 facts about Blake

Slide 7 - Mind map

  • Poet and artist (trained as an artist). 
  • He illustrated his books himself.
  • Happy, but childless marriage
  • Radical political ideas
  • Pronounced failure during life
  • Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience
  • The Lamb and The Tyger
  • Two poems titled The Chimney Sweeper.

William Blake

Slide 8 - Slide


dreamworld - escape from reality - optimistic outlook on life


bitterness - distrust - accusation - awareness of circumstances - sarcasm

Slide 9 - Slide

Slide 10 - Video

Slide 11 - Slide

Slide 12 - Link

Which of the following statements best summarizes how Blake describes the tiger?
Blake depicts the tiger as a fearsome, dangerous animal that should be avoided.
Blake describes the tiger in terms of its light and dark elements.
Blake depicts the tiger as an awe-inspiring creature made artfully with powerful elements.
Blake describes the tiger as a peaceful part of nature that is unchallenged by its own origins.

Slide 13 - Quiz

How does the line “Did He who make the Lamb make thee?” contribute to the the development of the poem?
It implies that the tiger is actually a gentle creature like the lamb’s namesake, Jesus Christ.
It implies that God is cruel for making a dangerous tiger that can tear an innocent lamb to pieces.
It questions the judgment of a creator that would create such vastly different animals with such different components.
It reveals the creator’s incomprehensible motivation to create both a powerful creature like the tiger and a weak creature like the lamb.

Slide 14 - Quiz

Which of the following statements best describes the author’s purpose in this poem?
The author aims to explore the question of existence and how things came to be as they are.
The author aims to talk about biology and evolution by posing questions in a spiritual way.
The author aims to reveal a gap in human knowledge regarding where life came from.
The author aims to prove that only a higher power could create such a magnificent creature as the tiger.

Slide 15 - Quiz

Which characteristics of Romantic poetry can you find in this poem?

Slide 16 - Open question

What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Who do the immortal hand and eye belong to?
The Universe
The Christian God
Greek god/goddess
Mother Earth

Slide 17 - Quiz

What poetic devices can you find in the lines: What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
simile, onomatopoeia, alliteration
alliteration, metaphor, enjambment
enjambment, onomatopoeia, metaphor
metaphor, simile, alliteration

Slide 18 - Quiz

Did He who made the lamb make thee?------ Who does the lamb refer to?
A lamb is a lamb is a lamb
An innocent human being
A harmless human being

Slide 19 - Quiz

  • 1 Archaic language was commonly used in a religious context in Blake’s time. It is the language and the spelling of the King James Bible of 1611. By using that old-fashioned spelling Blake creates a trusted, religious atmosphere. This correct, as this poem concerns the functioning of God. The title includes a reference to religion.
  • 2 a. quatrains (stanzas of 4 lines each)
  • b. rhymed couplets (aabb)
  • c. every line has a number of metrical feet, composed of 2 syllables, of which the first one is always emphasised and the second is not (trochee)

Slide 20 - Slide

  • 3 a. God is represented as a smith in a smithy
  • b. The regular metre of the trochee makes us think of the hammer blows in the smithy
  • 4 Rhetorical questions. The answer is usually encompassed in the question.
  • 5 The tiger. Perhaps indirectly also to the reader.
  • 6 a. burning bright (refers to the clear colours of the tiger) contrasting with the forests of the night (hostile, unknown).
  • b. God. By the word 'immortal'.
  • c. The tiger's stripes OR the tiger looks equally frightening on both sides (left and right).

Slide 21 - Slide

  • 7 Where does the fire / glow in the eyes of the tiger come from? As if someone has given the fire to the tiger. Compare the story of Prometheus who stole the fire from the gods.

  • 8 a. the tiger
  • b. He shows that God is literally making the tiger.

  • 9 a. hammer, furnace, anvil.
  • b. alliteration (dread – dare – deadly). In other stanzas too.

Slide 22 - Slide

  • 10 a. line 1 of stanza 5: it became light (spears of light) line 2: rain Together: the beginning of creation

  •  b. Was God truly happy with what he had made, had created? Was that the intention?

  • 11 ‘Could’ in stanza 1 and ‘Dare’ in the last stanza. Dare is far more powerful than Could

Slide 23 - Slide

Slide 24 - Video

the first stanza 
The poem is told from the perspective of a young school-age boy who feels trapped in the monotony of everyday attendance to his studies.  

The young narrator speaks about the things he loves in this first stanza. He loves “to rise in a summer morn” and hear the birds singing “on every tree.” Further, in the distance, he can hear the horn of the “huntsman” and the song of the “skylark” who seems to sing only for him.

Slide 25 - Slide

the second stanza 

The second stanza presents the exact opposite— things that “drive all joy away!”

When he is forced to rise on a “summer morn” and go to school, unable to stay in his peaceful environment, he is unhappiest. He bemoans him, and his classmate’s, fate; that they are stuck inside, “In sighing and dismay.”

Slide 26 - Slide

the third stanza 
The young speaker sits “drooping,” hunched over in his seat. He takes no pleasure in school work and is anxiously waiting for the end of the day. 
He cannot even take “delight” in his book, or “sit in learning’s bower” as it has been all “Worn through” by rain.

It is clear from these lines that the child is not averse to learning in general, he appreciates reading and understands the joys that can be gained from encompassing oneself within the “bower,” or sanctuary, of learning. It is only the structure of school he cannot stand.

Slide 27 - Slide

the fourth stanza 
In the fourth stanza of “The Schoolboy” the speaker questions his reader, demanding an answer to a rhetorical question. 

He pleads with whoever is listening and asks how a “bird that is born for joy,” referring to himself or others that think like him, be asked to “Sit in a cage and sing?” 

He knows that he was made to learn, read, and write, but he cannot do so in school, a place he considers equal to a cage. 

Slide 28 - Slide

the fourth stanza 

He makes the case for all children trapped indoors. He professes to worry for their wellbeing and the fact that while they are inside, their “tender” wings drooping, they are forgetting the “spring” of their youth. These children, just like he is, are missing out on the joys of being a child. 

Slide 29 - Slide

the fifth stanza 
 The speaker turns to address his parents. 
He speaks about his own childhood joys as being “buds” that are being “nipped” and “blossoms” that are blowing away. 

His happiness is delicate like the “tender plants” and he should not have to be subject to “sorrow and care’s dismay” at his young age. He need not feel so unhappy when he is only a child.

Slide 30 - Slide

the sixth stanza 

If all of the things stated in the fifth stanza happen if he is indeed stripped of his joy and given sorrow in return, then how can his parents expect the appearance of fruit in the summer. 
They should, worry that due to their choices he will never be the same. He will be unable to stand the “blasts of winter” when they appear.

Slide 31 - Slide

Assignments on The Schoolboy
  • 1. a. Happiness, elation
  • b. In order to create a sharp contrast with the following stanzas. Nature is good; school is misery.
  • 2. a. The teacher
  • b. A part of something or someone is used to indicate the whole.
  • c. The children do not see the teacher in his totality, but only his false, cruel eyes.
  • 3. Depressed, apathetic
  • 4. The first three stanzas describe situations; the last three stanzas focus on the situation of misery. It is here that Blake’s vision becomes clear.

Slide 32 - Slide

Assignments on The Schoolboy
  • 5. The (caged) bird and the stripped plants / branches.

  • 6. Bird, cage, droop his wing.

  • 7. Spring. Buds, blossoms, tender plants, springing.

  • 8. A plant whose flower buds and blossom have been removed in the spring, will never be able to bear fruit in the fall. In other words: if a child is deprived of joy, security and love, he or she will turn into an unhappy person


Slide 33 - Slide

Assignments on The Schoolboy
  • 9. The parents; in a certain sense, teachers too.

  • 10. It is a monologue of the schoolboy, but we clearly hear Blake’s views. Inparticular the last three stanzas are not logical in the structure of the monologue.

  • 11. Emotions.

  • 12. The answer is fairly self-evident and is not given. We call this type of question a rhetorical question.


Slide 34 - Slide

William Blake's poem London read and a few of his thoughts expressed:

Slide 35 - Slide

Slide 36 - Video

Slide 37 - Link

Assignments to London

  • 1. In line 3 mark is a verb and means ‘see’ or ‘detect’. In line 4 mark is a noun and means ‘symbol’ or ‘visible trail’.
  • 2. a. marks of weakness, marks of woe (line 4), cry (lines 5, 6, 9), fear (line 6), manacles (line 8), appals (line 10), hapless (line 11), sigh (line 11), blood (line 12),  curse (line 14), blasts (line 15), tear (line 15), blights (line 16), plague (line 16) and hearse (line 16).
  • b. Surprise, anger.

Slide 38 - Slide

Assignments to London
  • 3. a. charter’d (lines 1 and 2), marks (line 4), cry (lines 5, 6 and 9), every (lines 5, 6 and 7), hear (lines 8 and 13), infant (lines 5 and 15).

  • b. In general you can say that repetitions drive a point home. It emphasises something. That is the case here as well; with this extra nuance: every also indicates the degree of misery; cry / hear provides extra emphasise to ensure that you hear the misery.
  • 4. No role whatsoever, except for line 10 ‘black’ning’. The colour black and the absence of other colours gives the poem an atmosphere of dullness, sombreness and sadness.

Slide 39 - Slide

Assignments to London
  • 5. In Blake’s view the colour white means innocence. With regard to the institution of the Church he says that the church is busy losing its innocence and is no longer rooted in society.

  • 6. a. The last stanza.
  • b. In line 13: most (primarily)

  • 7. Because of her conduct her new-born baby dies and with her sexually transmitted disease she may infect a possible future husband.

Slide 40 - Slide

Assignments to London

8. Marriage and hearse do not go together. Marriage is the beginning and hearse is the end of a relationship. Blake means to say that due to the dangerous syphilis the marriage carriage will turn out to be a hearse.

Slide 41 - Slide

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

  • William Blake wrote two poems which he both called 'The Chimney Sweeper'
  • The first poem was published in 1789, the second one in 1794.
  • Both poems address the fate of young chimney sweepers from the 18th and 19th century who were often 'sold' by their parents to work in miserable conditions sweeping chimneys

Slide 42 - Slide

Slide 43 - Video

Slide 44 - Video

Slide 45 - Link

Slide 46 - Video

Slide 47 - Link

Assignments on The Chimney Sweeper
  1. His mother had passed away, and his father sold him as a young child.
  2. The reader is drawn into the story.
  3. The repetition expresses the monotony of his life.
  4. With the narrow and dark chimneys.

Slide 48 - Slide

Assignments on The Chimney Sweeper
  • 5. a. The descriptions in the first thee stanzas are darker and more gloomy than those in the last three.

  • b. 1-3: died, sold me, soot, cried, shaved, spoil, coffins, black, 4-6: Angel, bright, opened, set free, green plain, leaping, laughing, shine, sport, happy, warm, etc.

  • 6. They represent Good, or the positive aspects.

  • 7. Duty is a typically grown-up word, used in the adult world. A child would therefore not be inclined to use such a word. The fact that he does, however, lends a sense of irony.

Slide 49 - Slide

Assignments on The Chimney Sweeper
  • 8. No; dialogue. Someone else poses a question in line 3.

  • 9. Poem 1: mother died, father sold his son. Poem 2: both parents still living, though they do not care about their son.

  • 10. Black. contrast to white snow. 

  • 11. Innocence.

  • 12. a. The parents
  • b. They destroyed his happiness.

Slide 50 - Slide

Assignments on The Chimney Sweeper

13. The Church and the State, though primarily the former.

14. In the 1st poem, God was a father who made children happy; in the 2nd poem, however, God shows no concern for the misery.

Slide 51 - Slide