Want to revise your language evaluation skills in 'London'?
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.