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Evaluate Language Techniques in 'London'

In this worksheet, students will be tested on their evaluation of language. Students will be able to practise why certain words are used, the effect of these words on the theme, tone and about the context of the poem. This worksheet is a mixed one, meaning it will require some manual marking. The marks will be labelled accordingly to ensure accuracy.

'Evaluate Language Techniques 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 language evaluation skills in 'London'?

 

Thought bubble

 

Hopefully, you know 'London' well enough by now to be able to evaluate Blake's choices in language in the poem. Now remember, evaluating language is actually quite simple if you break it down into these two points:

 

What attitudes are expressed by the poet, through this language choice?

 

What effect does this word have on you, the reader?

 

 

When we break up our language evaluation into these two points, it is easier to get into the nitty gritty of word choice.  It also helps to evaluate language by putting ourselves into the speaker of the poem's shoes. Why does the poet use specific words and what is the effect of these words?

 

 

Here's an example of language evaluation to get you going. Don't worry, you won't have to do anything as long as this in the exercise.

 

In stanza two, Blake uses a metaphor, "mind-forged manacles" to convey poverty and discord.  Blake's use of metaphor really emphasises the way the poor people of London are trapped; their minds are kept shackled by the government. It also conveys the helplessness of the poor people of London and how their impoverished and unwelcome state is a mental state as much as it's a physical state.  Blake's use of the adjective "mind-forged" also emphasises a feeling of unwelcome force, as the word "forged" brings to mind ideas of manipulation and pain. Thus, through this description, we see Blake's attempts to emphasis that poverty is caused because of the government's lack of responsibility. They "forge" and "manacle" the impoverished people's minds.

Look at the very first line of the poem.

 

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct words from below. Don't worry about adding quotation marks.

 

repetition

emphasises

verb

adjective

"chartered"

"wander"

shocked

happy

"through"

Look at the last line of the first stanza.

 

Tick one box which analyses this quote the best.

 

The repetition of the plural noun 'marks' emphasises how 'weakness' and 'woe' is like a physical mark on the people's faces

The repetition of the plural noun 'marks' emphasises how sad the people look

The repetition of the plural noun 'marks' emphasises how downtrodden the people of London are, due to poverty

The repetition of the plural noun 'marks' emphasises the dirt and grime of the city

Check two examples of metaphor in the poem.

"And blights with plagues the marriage hearse"

"And every hapless soldiers sigh Runs in blood down the palace halls"

"I wander through each charted street"

"How the youthful harlot's curse"

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry, every black'ning church appalls"

 

 

Tick the one answer which best explains the quote.

 

The quote addresses the fact that the church is evil

This quote addresses the fact that the churches are helpless and controlled by the government

This quote addresses the fact that churches were responsible for looking after orphans, but those orphans are made to work as chimney-sweeps

This quote looks at the church in a favourable light and says they're doing a good job

"How the youthful harlot's curse"

 

What does this quote suggest about the youth of London?

 

Fill in the blank spaces.

 

These options are for the second blank space only:

 

opportunities

services

adverb

adjective

times

noun

The quote addresses the fact that the church is evil

This quote addresses the fact that the churches are helpless and controlled by the government

This quote addresses the fact that churches were responsible for looking after orphans, but those orphans are made to work as chimney-sweeps

This quote looks at the church in a favourable light and says they're doing a good job

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

 

Write down the device that Blake uses in this quote, and its effect. 

 

You should be able to get it down in two sentences.

"In every voice, in every ban"

 

Definition: "ban" means to curse in this context,

 

How does this quote convey the confinement or suffering of the lower class?

 

Look at:

 

The device used

 

HOW this device emphasises 'confinement'

 

You get two marks for two sentences

What adjective in stanza two reflects the government's control and confinement of the lower-class people of London?

 

 

Don't worry about typing out quotation marks. Make sure punctuation is correct, though!

"And the hapless soldiers sigh runs in blood down palace walls"

 

Definition of hapless: unfortunate

 

Evaluate the quote.

 

  1. What kind of device is used here?
  2. What do you think Blake is trying to say in this quote? 

 

You get two marks for two sentences. 

 Evaluate the the very last line of the poem.

 

1. What kind of language is used?

2. What are Blake's attitudes and how are they presented? What does this quote mean?

 

Remember, the quote is about prostitution.

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

  • Question 1

Look at the very first line of the poem.

 

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct words from below. Don't worry about adding quotation marks.

 

repetition

emphasises

verb

adjective

"chartered"

"wander"

shocked

happy

"through"

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Practising how to write out language evaluations should help you get into the swing of things. In this case, Blake uses the adjective "chartered" and even repeats it in the second line. In this context, "chartered" means something which is controlled and legislated by the government. Not long after Blake died, a movement called "Chartism" began- which basically meant that all men (just men- the vote for women came way later, sadly) should be allowed to vote, no matter how poor they were. While Blake, himself, didn't live to see this movement, his influence is definitely felt, especially through the repetition of the adjective chartered! "Wander" is an interesting verb - in the text above, it has been interpreted as Blake walking slowly, in a confused state. However, it could be understood that "wander" is Blake's way of describing the class of people affected by the corruption of society. Blake was quite a well-off man, from a rich family, therefore he wouldn't have been under as much confinement as, for example, someone from a lower-class ("chimney-sweepers," "harlots").
  • Question 2

Look at the last line of the first stanza.

 

Tick one box which analyses this quote the best.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The repetition of the plural noun 'marks' emphasises how 'weakness' and 'woe' is like a physical mark on the people's faces
EDDIE SAYS
Option one is correct! The abstract concepts of "weakness" and "woe" are so intense and apparent, that they show like "marks" on the poor people's faces, like physical blemishes or scars. Repetition is almost always used to emphasise a point - if it's repeated, that's on purpose. And Blake repeats certain words a lot in this poem, so keep an eye out!
  • Question 3

Check two examples of metaphor in the poem.

CORRECT ANSWER
"And blights with plagues the marriage hearse"
"And every hapless soldiers sigh Runs in blood down the palace halls"
EDDIE SAYS
The first two quotes use metaphor! Metaphor is an interesting one in the poem, because it's used to really emphasise Blake's hatred towards the government and pity for the poor people of London - so the metaphors that Blake uses really add depth to the dark descriptions.
  • Question 4

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry, every black'ning church appalls"

 

 

Tick the one answer which best explains the quote.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
This quote addresses the fact that churches were responsible for looking after orphans, but those orphans are made to work as chimney-sweeps
EDDIE SAYS
The church is presented as "black'ning", which opposes the idea of purity, peace and equality that should be exhibited - (think about the significance of the colour white with purity and goodness). The adjective depicts an imagery of the walls off the church slowly becoming more and more black (the 'ing' of "black'ning" implies that the severity of the walls increase with time). What do you think this says about the church, with regards to the passing of time?
  • Question 5

"How the youthful harlot's curse"

 

What does this quote suggest about the youth of London?

 

Fill in the blank spaces.

 

These options are for the second blank space only:

 

opportunities

services

adverb

adjective

times

noun

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The quote is quite upsetting, as Blake uses techniques such as adjectives ("youthful") to emphasise the struggles and lack of options of the youth. Youthful describes to a reader that the girls are still very young, and therefore are not accountable for their actions. They don't yet know what's best for them. The corruption in society has caused no other support system or education for children of lower-class, and so prostitution seems to be one of the only means of money-making.
  • Question 6

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

 

Write down the device that Blake uses in this quote, and its effect. 

 

You should be able to get it down in two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the effect of metaphors - writers generally use them to emphasise a dramatic moment and add drama. In this case, the metaphor is used to enhance the wrongdoings of the government and create an upsetting imagery. If you mentioned another technique (emotive language, verbs), they may still be present, however the technique of metaphor is most dominant in this quote!
  • Question 7

"In every voice, in every ban"

 

Definition: "ban" means to curse in this context,

 

How does this quote convey the confinement or suffering of the lower class?

 

Look at:

 

The device used

 

HOW this device emphasises 'confinement'

 

You get two marks for two sentences

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The repetition of the adjective "every" really emphasises the vast majority of people who are unhappy. It reflects how many people are suffering. Thinking about the fact that this poem was written not long after the French Revolution, perhaps we could see the poem from another angle- a warning to the aristocrats that there's a lot of people suffering in the lower-class. The word "ban" emphasises this even further! Not only are the lower-class suffering, but they're annoyed and bitter about their suffering - just like the lower-class people in Paris were before they killed the aristocrats in the French Revolution! The word "ban" could also be viewed as preventing access to something. So, Blake could have used this word to suggest that the higher institutions like the church/government are either banning the lower-class from entry OR preventing those lower-class people from being able to move up in society (social mobility is prevented/banned for them!). Words can have double meanings, and it's always good to analyse each meaning so it enhances your understanding and depth.
  • Question 8

What adjective in stanza two reflects the government's control and confinement of the lower-class people of London?

 

 

Don't worry about typing out quotation marks. Make sure punctuation is correct, though!

CORRECT ANSWER
every
mind-forged
EDDIE SAYS
The adjective "every", which is repeated four times in stanza two, emphasise the sheer amount of pain is felt by the lower-class. It also places blame onto the government, through the adjective "mind-forged". Blake is stating that the government/aristocracy have a direct influence on the cries and bans of the lower-class people.
  • Question 9

"And the hapless soldiers sigh runs in blood down palace walls"

 

Definition of hapless: unfortunate

 

Evaluate the quote.

 

  1. What kind of device is used here?
  2. What do you think Blake is trying to say in this quote? 

 

You get two marks for two sentences. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The metaphor here could be taken in two ways: Blake is blaming the aristocratic people for their ignorance and lack of responsibility; the solider's blood is on the hands of the aristocrats who are safe and warm in their palaces. Blake is also warning those aristocrats of a potential revolution, just like the French Revolution, where the lower-class stormed palaces and executed aristocrats due to social discord and an imbalance of power and money. Look at the noun palace- it really emphasises and references the social imbalance. Palace suggests jewels, riches and security.
  • Question 10

 Evaluate the the very last line of the poem.

 

1. What kind of language is used?

2. What are Blake's attitudes and how are they presented? What does this quote mean?

 

Remember, the quote is about prostitution.

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Look at the way Blake presents the prostitution of the "youthful harlot" - it's shown as a mockery of marriage and a "plague" (which perhaps refers to STDs, but could also be used as a metaphor for the act of prostitution, a plague on society?). Well done, that's another activity completed! Look at the whole stanza, the way Blake presents the 'youthful harlot' and the way her 'curse blasts the new-born infant's tear'- words such as 'youthful' and 'infant' portray a semantic field of innocence. They directly contrast words such as 'blights' 'plagues' 'blasts' and 'tear' which portrays imagery of pain, destruction and suffering. What effect does Blake present? Well, definitely something to do with the corruption of innocence and the corruption and despair of babies and women- the two sects of society who were believed to be the most vulnerable and weak! What's the effect of the 'youthful harlot's curse'? What is Blake trying to say about the corruption of young women? Bear in mind, women were considered vulnerable, delicate and pure (back then). Likewise, what's the effect of the harlot's curse 'blasting' (present continuous verb suggesting continuity and ongoingness) the baby's 'tear'? Think about the bleakness of this imagery? The lack of peacefulness of the imagery? Does it unsettle you? It definitely would have unsettled an 18th century reader!
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