London 1802 Essay

758 words - 4 pages

Both London, 1802 by William Wordsworth and Douglass by Paul Laurence Dunbar are poems addressing the changes in conditions among their respective societies, London for Wordsworth and the United States for Dunbar. The poems are reactions to different time periods as both writers look upon the conditions of their societies and reminisce of better times as they long for the glory days of the past. London, 1802 and Douglass are poems that have several similarities among their content, however there are distinct differences between the two that the reader can pick up on as well.
London, 1802 and Douglass are very similar in that they both request or call out for the presence of historical figures that brought about better times from the past. In this similarity, both writers use apostrophe, which is the addressing of someone or something that is not present. Wordsworth in London 1802 begins his poem by addressing “Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour” (Line 1). We can see Wordsworth calling out to Milton, wishing that he were living during Wordsworth’s time where his society is in need of a man like Milton because England is now a “fen / Of stagnant waters” (Line 2-3). Dunbar too opens his poem by addressing the figure Douglass with the line “Ah, Douglass, we have fall’n on evil days”(Line 1), as the author describes how his society had seen better days when Douglass was living. In addition to the similarity by the use of apostrophe, both poems use vivid imagery to show the reader characteristics of the historical figures called for in each poem. For example, Dunbar successfully portrays a characteristic of Douglass when he says “Oh for thy voice high-sounding o’er the storm”(Line 11). The characteristic described by Dunbar is Frederick Douglass’ power through his voice. Wordsworth uses imagery as well to describe Milton when he says “Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart / Thou hadst a voice whose sound like the sea” (Line 9-10). Wordsworth enables the reader to see that Milton was an appealing man and also describes the characteristic of his voice by describing his voice as something that is powerful that can overcome conflicts. Another thing to note that is...

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