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Evaluate the Effectiveness of Presentation of Themes in 'London'

In this worksheet, students will be tested on their evaluation of themes in 'London'. Students will be able to practise why certain words are used, the effect of these words on the theme/tone and the context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of Presentation of Themes in 'London'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'London', Time and Place: 'London'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to revise your theme evaluation skills in 'London'?

 

(Hint, yes you do! Double hint, you've come to the right place to do this!)

 

 

Thought bubble

 

In this activity, you'll be able to practise your evaluating skills concerning key themes in 'London'. This activity should allow you to practise some key skills in detecting how the writer develops key themes and presents them effectively. This is a mixed activity some of your answers will need to be manually marked!

 

 

An evaluation template:

 

Identifying the theme ie: In 'London' Blake presents the theme of vulnerability in the lower-class people of London.

 

Example ie: The quote "marks of weakness, marks of woe" really emphasises this.

 

Effect ie: The nouns "weakness" and "woe" are examples of emotive language, urging the reader to imaging the frailty and sadness of the people on the streets of London. Repetition of "marks" emphasises, perhaps, the physical marks of people who are subject to harsh conditions. Perhaps Blake repeats the word marks to place emphasis on the vast amount of people who are vulnerable. Hence, the repetition iterates the very word, making it seem as if Blake is encountering person after person with marks of sadness and pain on their face.

 

Linking the theme to the poem as a whole: ie: Blake emphasises lower class vulnerability to send a moral message: that the lower-class are more vulnerable to a harsh, painful and destitute (poor) lifestyle due to the selfishness and corruption of the upper-class. The quote "every black'ning church'"uses metaphorical language to stress Blake's negative attitudes towards the church, who is responsible for looking after the lower-class. Clearly, Blake is subjecting the blame onto institutions run by the upper-class, or in the control of the upper-class.

 

 

 

Don't worry about making your evaluations super complex and don't get too intimidated by the example up there. It's more sophisticated, so that you have a super good example to look up to and work towards!

 

Hopefully this makes evaluating themes easier to understand. If it's still tricky, don't worry, because the activity will be filled with helpful hints and explanations that you can jot down as you do it. 

 

Remember, take your time, it's not a race!

Evaluate the theme of corruption in the poem.

 

Fill in the blanks with the correct words from below.

 

adverb

lower-class

upper-class

simile

metaphor

happy

sad

gory

revolution

revolt

 

Evaluate the theme of religion in the poem by fillinf in the blanks below.

 

 

linking

verb

adverb

noun

purity

goodness

"'In every cry of every man, in every infant's cry of fear"

 

Which of the two themes below are present in the quote. Pick out of:

 

Innocence

Religion

Vulnerability

Death

Love

Name one theme/motif in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker of the poem

Vulnerability

Death

Pride

Confinement

Freedom

"How the youthful harlot's curse blasts the new-born infant's ear"

 

 

How might this quote present the theme of vulnerability? Pick the correct number.

 

1. The adjective "new-born" for the "infant" emphasises that the baby has just been born and is, immediately, subject to its unpleasant environment. The adjective "youthful" to describe the "harlot" also emphasises this idea that the prostitute (harlot) is young. This idea of the harlot as "youthful" and the baby as "new-born" really cements how the young are most susceptible to corruption and ties in with the idea of lost innocence.

 

2. The adjectives "new-born" and "youthful" for both the baby and the harlot really emphasises the theme of vulnerability, because it suggests that the harlot is cruel and abuses her baby. This is suggested in the verb "blasts"- she is abusing her vulnerable baby.

"The mind-forged manacles"

 

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the theme of confinement.

Confinement is presented through the metaphor of the "manacles"

The connotations of "manacles" implies that the upper-class are cruel

Confinement is presented through the adjective "mind-forged"

The connotations of "manacles" implies that the lower-class poor are trapped in their unpleasant situations

Evaluate the theme of hopelessness in the last two lines of the first stanza:

​In this quote

In the poem as a whole. 

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

 

Hint: think about these in your answer:

 

What structural device is used in the quote?

 

What does the emotive language imply?

 

What can be inferred about Blake's attitudes towards the poor people of London

Evaluate the theme of death in the last line of the third stanza.

 

Think about:

 

The language device used in this quote

 

The effect of this.

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem:

 

1. Corruption

2. Freedom

3. Religion

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

Last question! 

 

Pick one theme which links to the theme of religion.

 

 Give one reason which explains why religion and the theme you've picked connect.

 

1. Sexuality

2. Innocence

3. Corruption

 

There's two marks for two sentences.

  • Question 1

Evaluate the theme of corruption in the poem.

 

Fill in the blanks with the correct words from below.

 

adverb

lower-class

upper-class

simile

metaphor

happy

sad

gory

revolution

revolt

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The theme of corruption is a huge one in the poem- Blake places a lot of blame on the corrupt upper-class. His reference to the palace could be a warning about the French Revolution. It could also refer to the Houses of Parliament, which are known as the Palaces of Westminster! Either way- the upper-class/aristocrats are being blamed. Their corruption is in reference to their lack of responsibility over the London poor.
  • Question 2

Evaluate the theme of religion in the poem by fillinf in the blanks below.

 

 

linking

verb

adverb

noun

purity

goodness

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you choose the right words? Have a read of the summary of the blanks you've filled and see if you agree with the points made- if so, jot them down. If not, form your own points/opinions!
  • Question 3

"'In every cry of every man, in every infant's cry of fear"

 

Which of the two themes below are present in the quote. Pick out of:

 

Innocence

Religion

Vulnerability

Death

Love

CORRECT ANSWER
Innocence
Vulnerability
EDDIE SAYS
The quote shows innocence- the reference to the "infant" who is crying, portraying childhood innocence as something which will soon be corrupted by the endless cycle of poverty. Likewise, vulnerability is also a theme presented in the quote- pretty much any reference to the poor people of London is tinged with the theme/motif of vulnerability. Blake is really heightening our empathy and aligning our emotions and sympathies with these poor people of London. At the same time, we are blaming the rich for neglecting the poor.
  • Question 4

Name one theme/motif in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker of the poem

Vulnerability

Death

Pride

Confinement

Freedom

CORRECT ANSWER
Freedom
EDDIE SAYS
Isn't it interesting that Blake begins the poem with the speaker wandering through the "chartered" (government controlled) streets? This emphasises the speaker's removed status- he is free to "wander", meaning he has more freedom than the lower-class people of London that he's witnessing. The most likely reason for the speaker's relaxed 'wandering' state is that he's middle/upper-class. This is important, because, although the speaker is of a higher class than the poor people he's witnessing, he is still able to be sympathetic and align himself with them. Therefore, it is implied that the speaker is able to care for the lower-class, despite his upper-class/middle-class status.
  • Question 5

"How the youthful harlot's curse blasts the new-born infant's ear"

 

 

How might this quote present the theme of vulnerability? Pick the correct number.

 

1. The adjective "new-born" for the "infant" emphasises that the baby has just been born and is, immediately, subject to its unpleasant environment. The adjective "youthful" to describe the "harlot" also emphasises this idea that the prostitute (harlot) is young. This idea of the harlot as "youthful" and the baby as "new-born" really cements how the young are most susceptible to corruption and ties in with the idea of lost innocence.

 

2. The adjectives "new-born" and "youthful" for both the baby and the harlot really emphasises the theme of vulnerability, because it suggests that the harlot is cruel and abuses her baby. This is suggested in the verb "blasts"- she is abusing her vulnerable baby.

CORRECT ANSWER
1
EDDIE SAYS
This was a tricky question, but hopefully it's a valuable one, which got you thinking a little bit about the way that certain quotations represent ideas/attitudes/themes. Hopefully, it also got you thinking about the way themes bounce off each other and how they're presented, not just from the speaker's point of view, but by the language use. Remember, Blake isn't blaming the poor people for the conditions they're in! They can't help their confinement. It is the rich who Blake blames.
  • Question 6

"The mind-forged manacles"

 

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the theme of confinement.

CORRECT ANSWER
Confinement is presented through the metaphor of the "manacles"
The connotations of "manacles" implies that the lower-class poor are trapped in their unpleasant situations
EDDIE SAYS
A tricky two to pick from, so don't be too disheartened if you got confused and picked a wrong answer here or there. Just remember, it's the idea of the "manacles" which represent confinement. As manacles are used to entrap people, keep them chained up and unable to be free, this metaphor really emphasises Blake's belief that the lower-class are trapped in their poverty. Similarly, the idea of manacles, in reference to crime, could suggest that Blake believes that crime is predominantly done by poor people who can't afford to fund themselves - stealing food or money/pickpocketing was a serious crime back in the day. The majority of pickpockets were vulnerable children forced into a life of crime because they had no other options! The adjective "mind-forged" stresses the metaphor in the quote- Blake might have used this specific adjective because he believes that the lower-class are manipulated into doing crime, because of the corruption of the upper-class, who deny them money and food. This really ties in to the cyclical aspect of the poem- Blake is insinuating that the lower-class are never really free to move up, socially, because they're purposefully trapped in poverty by the upper-class.
  • Question 7

Evaluate the theme of hopelessness in the last two lines of the first stanza:

​In this quote

In the poem as a whole. 

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

 

Hint: think about these in your answer:

 

What structural device is used in the quote?

 

What does the emotive language imply?

 

What can be inferred about Blake's attitudes towards the poor people of London

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Every time you write an evaluation, try and make sure that you assess exactly what the writer is trying to convey and how this links to the poem as a whole. In this case, Blake uses a lot of negative emotive language to emphasise the unpleasantness of the people of London and their suffering. The repetition of "marks" really showcases how obviously the people's sufferings are apparent on their faces. Remember that repetition is mostly used to emphasise the word that's being repeated, so always look at the effect of the repeated word and its impact on the poem as a whole.
  • Question 8

Evaluate the theme of death in the last line of the third stanza.

 

Think about:

 

The language device used in this quote

 

The effect of this.

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The metaphor here really links to the idea of death. Blake could be referring to the death of the poor people of London. But, he could also be warning of the potential death of the aristocrats who are currently safe and cocooned in their palaces, unable to see the pain and suffering of the poor people on the streets of London. Remember, Blake spends much of the poem emphasising the obvious pain of the lower-class (he repeats the word "marks" to hit the nail on the head- the people are suffering in obvious and apparent ways). Now, we have a reference to the rich, who are tucked away in their palaces, wilfully ignoring the poor people's suffering. Like we mentioned before, Blake is aligning himself with the poor people of London!
  • Question 9

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem:

 

1. Corruption

2. Freedom

3. Religion

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Corruption is the correct theme- it's constant and unchanging. It's in the background of the entire poem!
  • Question 10

Last question! 

 

Pick one theme which links to the theme of religion.

 

 Give one reason which explains why religion and the theme you've picked connect.

 

1. Sexuality

2. Innocence

3. Corruption

 

There's two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about which themes connect and bounce off each other- why do these themes connect and how is this important to the poem as a whole? Practice makes perfect! Why not try another activity?
Try it ---- OR ----

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