The three works, Blakes London , Arnolds Dover Beach (1867) and Joyces Araby - Essay Example

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The three works, Blake's "London" , Arnold's "Dover Beach" (1867) and Joyce's "Araby" (1916) are interrelated in their mood of exile and a labyrinthine journey through the cityscape that is fraught with a strange alienation for them. Interestingly, all these texts, be it poems or poetic prose, have a strange sense of the din placed at their background, while the narrative voice is the one bearing the minds isolated "chalice" through the crowd…
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The three works, Blakes London , Arnolds Dover Beach (1867) and Joyces Araby
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The three works, Blake's "London" , Arnold's "Dover Beach" (1867) and Joyce's "Araby" (1916) are interrelated in their mood of exile and a labyrinthine journey through the cityscape that is fraught with a strange alienation for them. Interestingly, all these texts, be it poems or poetic prose, have a strange sense of the din placed at their background, while the narrative voice is the one bearing the minds isolated "chalice" through the crowd. Arnold's poem is typically Victorian in its sensibility and there are traces of "Culture and Anarchy" ideals present in the poem's parameters of love and togetherness. It is the setting for the coming Modern crisis and existential angst, which is yet to be discovered, because in this poem there is still an unfelt prayer for God, for he is not yet dead. But with the onset of Araby, Joyce launches the consciousness of a boy and his artistic doom, which will become yet more pronounced with the concept pf "paralysis" that he ultimately voices in "A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". London, by Blake is decadent with a Baudelaire-ian "Fleur Du Mal" backstreet experience. London, by Blake is littered with poverty and the cheap glitters of lustful night, which spreads through the nightmarish experiences of Dover Beach where ignorant armies fight at night. The only this that is of value is "truth". Joyce challenges this truth that for the boy becomes a disillusioned journey into sexuality and the bazaar named Araby. In an Eliot-ish trance he climbs to the upper floor of his room and whispers the name of his beloved in an ecstatic symphony, until he is able to rise beyond the ashes and the cesspool squalor of the city. All the poems describe a different waste land and in vain search for a remedy.

While Blake, we find a London that is "chartered" and chequered with misfortune, plague, curses and a lyricism that can empathize with the masses. London is full of cries, sighs and darkness. There is an unmistakable note of biblical presentation of the suffering, Dantesque in its Inferno like journey. With Arnold's poem, though there is this same "eternal note of sadness" (Arnold, para one, last line), which for him presents the same "human misery", the note is more representative of a secular sensibility. While Blake could not avoid misery in the faces of the chimney-sweepers, Arnold hears in the metaphorical sea of life silent and full of its "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar". The world to him is a "darkling plain" without any "certitude", which makes him rely only on his love for support and something permanent. Ironically with the coming of Modernism, permanence became a myriad of fractured moments that could not find any centre of fixity, either in love or in friendship. Life became an endless waiting for the Beckettian Godot, which Joyce narrated best in Araby. While Arnold voiced misery in an age, full of Darwinian "survival of the fittest" biological assertions, which strained human mind about the Christian decent of man, and a world full of beastly struggle to secure one's existence, London in Blake's Romantic era was a imaginative quest to draw out and voice the misery of the masses as best as possible. It was a cathartic moment of expression to seek answers in poetry, like Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" (1819) or the sublime reaches of escape that poetry offered (or failed to offer) with Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" (1819) , or through "Lamia", in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and the neo-classical quest for rationale and tiring stringency for form and structure. "London" is such a place of Blake's pursuit for answer. In fact, this labyrinthine quest for answer and escapade is the underlying theme of all the texts, which seem to be falling apart into ceaseless fragments. While, Arnold's poem quite describes this disillusionment with metaphysical promises of the Victorian era, Blake looks at London with prophetic turmoil in his soul, and Joyce takes his narrator from eager dreams and into a moment of epiphany that becomes the ultimate Modern claim to the futility of the new generations understanding of man's ultimate failure to find new experiences, dreams, love and truth in life. Whereas in the Romantic Era and the Victorian Era suffer with an inability to find God's grace, the Joycean denial for his character to get fulfillment through Araby nor is he requited with love by Mangan's sister. This is the end to the whole thing called hope. This endless hope is rewarded by a bathos of failure. The poems all indulge in a kind of hopelessness that achieves best effect in Araby's courage to end all hope.

The conclusion that can be drawn from each of the given pieces is that they are poems with similar causes but various reaching towards an end, which is the same-a better understanding of the human misery, forsakenness from a greater spiritual truth, God and ultimate regret with life. Read More
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