brit lit journal entries - Sarah Carney ENG 3314 Journal...

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Sarah Carney ENG 3314 Journal Entries Wednesday, January 8th Part I. Charlotte Smith’s Elegiac Sonnets was written in 1784. She began writing the sonnets to make money when her husband was imprisoned for debt. Smith and her husband had a bad relationship due to fighting, money issues and his infidelity. Her first book was Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Essays by Charlotte Smith of Bignor Park, Sus- sex. The book came out in 1784 and within the next sixteen years underwent nine edi- tions. Smith is credited with helping to bring the sonnet back into fashion as lyrical poet- ry. The sonnets are generally about the beauty of nature. However Smith takes a more scientific approach to nature than her contemporaries. Part II. I was attracted to Charlotte Smith’s poetry after I read in the introduction that she was dishonored for her progressive feminist ideas. Smith combined the ideas of a mournful elegy with a more upbeat sonnet, thus the Elegiac Sonnets . Specifically, I found the poem “On Being Cautioned against Walking on a Headland Overlooking the Sea, Because It Was Frequented by a Lunatic” very significant. She uses dramatic im- agery to paint a romantically bleak story of a lunatic that is unaware of his lunacy be- cause he is “uncursed with reason”. I found it rather cheeky. Friday, January 10th Part I. In 1789 William Blake wrote Songs of Innocence , followed by Songs of Experi- ence in 1794. He began his career as an artist and experimented with poetry during his apprenticeship but did not have anything published till 1783. He worked as an engraver and along with his wife he made all of the images that accompany his writings. Songs of Innocence and of Experience were made to expose his opinions on the social and economic issues in his time. His radical views on society are shown in the two differing books that expose the contrasting sides of the human soul. Part II. “The Divine Image” has an almost childlike rhyming scheme. It follows ABCB quatrain form which is also commonly seen in hymns and nursery rhymes. It preaches on the virtues of mercy, pity, peace, and love; the embodiment of man’s faith. Blake ends the poem with the idea that all men, no matter religion can attain salvation if the virtues are present. This idea was very atypical from the established church’s view on who is worthy of salvation. In “Nurse’s Song” Blake paints a picturesque image of a lov- ing nurse caring for her charges. \
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Monday, January 13th Part II. “The Human Abstract” is the answer to “The Divine Image”. It uses a similar rhyming scheme in the first three stanzas but soon deviates into a more lose rhyme scheme. This creates a discord in the flow of the poem that draws the readers attention to the darker themes. Blake states that the four virtues are pushed upon the public by the church, using imagery of pests to depict clergymen feeding off misfortune. Blake’s contempt for organized religion is glaringly obvious. In “Nurse’s Song” the image of a content nurse is shattered with bitterness. The second stanza is repeated but in a con-
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