"London" (William Blake) - vs - "Living Space" (Imtiaz Dharker)

  • Created by: maddy_may
  • Created on: 18-08-17 14:52

"London" (William Blake) - vs - "Living Space" (Imtiaz Dharker)


  • Both of the poems explore the suffering within a certain place, however they each explore very different places and the suffering within. Blake refers to the suffering within London that is imposed by the powers in control, where as, "Living Space" explores the suffering in the slums in Mumbai.
  • The poems both comment on the wealth distribution being un fair. "London" suggests that the uneven wealth forces people to send their children to become "Chimney-sweepers", a job that is physically demanding and has several risks associated with it. Whilst, the wealthy simply impose "mind-frog'd manacles" that further add to the burden of the poor. In addition the end-stopped stanzas may reflect the segregation of the rich and the poor. In the poem "Living Space", Dharker comments on a "slanted universe". The adjective "slanted" suggests that it isn't fair and could be a reference to the uneven division in wealth. The people in the slums can't even afford the necessities, where as, the wealthy overindulge with luxuries.  Dharker uses the contrast of life and dark to clearly show the difference in quality of life between the social classes.


  • "London" has a controlled, repetitive structure that consists of four quatrains. This could be used to suggest that the suffering within the city itself is ruthless and never ending, which is further reinforced by the poem's repetitive 'ABAB' rhyme scheme. The poem has a cyclical structure, which infers that the city is is a cycle of suffering that Blake is looking to break.
  • In comparison, the poem "Living Space" has an unconventional structure that consists of only one stanza with varying line lengths. The uneven line lengths may link to the crooked slum structures and is accompanied by a irregular rhyme scheme to further show the the irregularity of the unstable structures people in the slums are forced to live in.
  • Blake end-stops all of the quatrains to reflect the controls within the city. This suggests that everything within the city has limitations and is guarded by someone or something. This links to the "charter'd Thames',which shows people trying to impose restrictions on something natural and thought to be uncontrollable.  Alternatively, it could refer to the clear wealth divide within London and how the rich and the poor are so clearly separated.
  • On the other hand, Dharker uses enjambment to imply the extent of the overpopulation in the slums. the words spilling over the lines may reflect how compact people are in the slums. They are gradually spilling over the area that they have been contained in, this is because although 70% of Asia's population live in slums, the land (as well as, the wealth) isn't evenly distributed.

Overall comparison




there is three stanzas in living space



This is very inaccurate



Not very useful; little detail