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Summary And Themes Of The School Boy By William Blake

The article in on, Analysis of the School Boy by William Blake has discussed few of the poem's poetic devices. This post will be focussing on the summary and themes of the poem titled: The School Boy By William Blake.

The poet looks at nature and environment to favor the formal classroom learning. Taking the schoolboy as a case study, Blake explains that the boy learns better from nature and things around that pleasures him:

"I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree.
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!

But to go to school in a summer morn
O it drives all joy way!
Under a cruel eye out worn,
The little one spends the day
In sighing and dismay."

He further sees the subjection of the schoolboy to formal learning as decapitation which prevents the boy to grow properly with nature.

Stanza 4 of the poem goes:
"How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fear annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring!"

William Blake, in the last stanza of the poem, made summer a symbol of youthfulness and winter a symbol of adulthood. He questions what memory of youthful days will be when the boy has finally worn the garment of adulthood:

"How shall the summer arise in joy
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what grief destroy
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?"

The Themes of the Poem:-
(1) Nature and Its Pleasant Education: The first stanza of the poem shows how the boy learns from nature and everything around him in a very delightful way: "summer morn" "birds sing on every tree" "distant huntsman wing his horn" etc.

(2) The Compulsion In Formal Education: The parents of the boy see importance in school and mandated the boy to be in a classroom setting than fool around with the dangling trees and chirping birds.

(3) The Parental Control: The parental control was so high that the schoolboy felt as if he was imprisoned; he couldnt perform his own wills.


Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings soaring high)

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