William Blake's The Schoolboy - Poem Analysis (2023)

This piece was first published in the second half of Blake's masterpiece,experience songs.The release of this volume came about five years after the release ofSongs of Innocenceim 1789.ThisPoems by William Blakewere later combined and released together as re-releasedSongs of innocence and experience.by Blake'The high school'It is apastoralPoem that focuses on the inherent problemsformalTeach. The boy who hates going to school feels that nature has brought him up better.

the high schoolWilliam Blake

I love getting up on a summer morningWhen the birds sing in every tree;The distant hunter blows his horn,And the lark sings with me:Oh, what sweet company!

But going to school on a summer morning, -Oh, it takes all joy!Under a cruelly exhausted gaze,The little ones spend the dayIn sighs and dismay.

Ah, sometimes I sit downAnd spends many anxious hours;I can't enjoy my book eitherDon't sit in the arbor of learningExhausted from the sad shower.

How can the bird that is born for joySit in a cage and sing?How can a child, if fears disturb,But lower your delicate wing,And forget your youthful spring!

O father and mother, when the buds are cut off,And flowers bloom;And when the tender plants are uprootedFrom your joy in the spring day,In the sorrow and dismay of sorrow, -

When summer will rise in joyOr will summer fruits appear?Or how shall we collect what worries destroy,Or bless the ripe year,When do the winter gusts occur?

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  • 1. Summary
  • 2 subjects
  • 3 structure and shape
  • 4 literary devices
  • 5 Analysis, stanza by stanza
  • 6 Similar Poetry
  • 7 About William Blake
William Blake's The Schoolboy - Poem Analysis (1)


'The high school'vonWilliam Blakeit says offperspectiveof a boy trying to avoid going back to school, explaining that this is affecting him negatively.

The poem begins with the young mantellertalk about your ideal morning. He wakes up and hears the birds and the "distant hunter" blowing his "horn". The secondverseit jumps to the morns of despair when he is forced to leave his peaceful haven and go to school.

the next twostanzasare infusedMelodramaand should evoke sympathy in the reader. The boy describes his miserable school days and how, like a captive bird that cannot sing, he should not be forced to learn under restrictions.

Öspeakerturns to beg her parents. He tells them that if this continues, his "buds" will be "chopped off", his joy will be stolen from him, and the loss of his childhood will leave him unprepared for life. He will not be able to survive the true trials of life or winters as he describes them.


Blake uses some interesting and important themes in"The College".In this piece he deals with childhood and adolescence as well as with themes such as education, nature and freedom. Its protagonist and speaker, the student, spends the poem describing the difference between the freedom of nature and the cruel limitations of formal education.

(Video) The School Boy - William Blakes(summary and Analysis)

He believes that learning what he needs to know about the world from nature would be better than imagining someone else's what is good for him. The poem raises questions about the effectiveness of standard parenting and what is the proper way to raise a child. In addition, Blake celebrates youth and youth connected to nature, as he often does in his poetry.

structure and shape

'the high school' by William Blake is divided into six stanzas of five lines called quintets. The first two stanzasrimais a scheme of ABABB, ACACC while the last four diverge,I postpone(with alternative endings) ABCBB or ABABB. The lines are almost the same length and vary depending on usagefullund one-score.

Literary Devices

Blake uses various literary devices in"The College".These include, but are not limited toAlliteration,He killed, and a wonderful example of itmetaphor. The latter is evident in the last lines of the poem when the speaker compares his youth and happiness, as well as his state of mind at school, to the destruction of a plant. All to convince his parents that he never has to go through the misery of school again.

Alliterationis another important literary resource that appears in this poem. Helps increase rhyme andrhythmAgainVerse. For example, "skylark sings" in verse one and "day" and "dismay" in verse two.He killedworks similar to alliteration. This is seen in the third stanza with theRepetitionfrom "Nem" at the beginning of two lines and again in the fifth stanza with "E".

Analysis, stanza by stanza

first verse

I love getting up on a summer morning

When the birds sing in every tree;

The distant hunter blows his horn,

And the lark sings with me:

Oh, what sweet company!

In the first stanza of this play, Blake introduces the reader to his main character and speaker. The poem is told from the perspective of a school-age teenager who feels trapped in the monotony of his everyday learning. He speaks with the conscience of an older man, projecting the feelings and beliefs of romantic poets, of which Blake was one.

The young narrator talks about the things he loves in this first stanza. He loves to "get up on a summer morning" and hear the birds sing "in every tree". He also hears the horn of the "Hunter" in the distance and the singing of the "Lerche", which seems to be singing only for him.

Those are the kinds of companies he wants. This is when he is happiest, a sentiment expressed by many romantic poets.

(Video) 67. 'The Schoolboy' by William Blake (A-Level)

second stanza

But going to school on a summer morning, -

Oh, it takes all joy!

Under a cruelly exhausted gaze,

The little ones spend the day

In sighs and dismay.

The second stanza presents the exact opposite - things that "take all joy!"

When he is forced to get up and go to school on a "summer morning" because he cannot stay in his peaceful surroundings, he is very unhappy. He laments his fate and that of his classmate; that they are imprisoned in it, "in sighs and consternation."

third stanza

Ah, sometimes I sit down

And spends many anxious hours;

I can't enjoy my book either

Don't sit in the arbor of learning

Exhausted from the sad shower.

The young narrator continues and tells the reader more about his miserable school days. He sits "hunched over," hunched over in his seat. He dislikes schoolwork and looks forward to the end of the day. He cannot even "enjoy" his book or "sit in the arbor of learning" for it has all been "worn out" by the rain.

It is clear from these lines that the child is not averse to learning in general, enjoys reading, and understands the joys to be gained by embarking on the arcantile, or sanctuary, of learning. It's just the structure of the school that he can't stand.

(Video) William Blake's 'The School Boy' from 'The Songs of Experience'

fourth stanza

How can the bird that is born for joy

Sit in a cage and sing?

How can a child, if fears disturb,

But lower your delicate wing,

And forget your youthful spring!

In the fourth stanza of "The Schoolboy," the speaker quizzes his reader, demanding an answer to a question.rhetorical question. He pleads with each listener, asking how a "bird born to joy," referring to himself or others who think like him, can be asked to "sit in a cage and sing"? He knows he was made to learn, read and write, but he can't do it in school, a place he equates to a cage.

He now turns to pleading for other children. He defends everyone trapped inside. He worries for their well-being and the fact that while they are inside they let their "tender" wings droop, forgetting the "springtime" of their youth. These children, like him, miss out on the joys of childhood.

fifth stanza

O father and mother, when the buds are cut off,

And flowers bloom;

And when the tender plants are uprooted

From your joy in the spring day,

In the sorrow and dismay of sorrow,—

No fifth quintet of'The student' the speaker turns to his parents, whom he sees as the ones who could change his situation. If only he could convince her to see things his way. In this verse he gives them the reasons why they shouldn't force him to go to school.

He talks about his own childhood joys as "buds" that are "cut" and "flowers" that burst. His luck is tender like the "tender plant" and he shouldn't beThemeto "sadness and dismay" at his young age. He doesn't have to feel so miserable when he's just a kid.

(Video) Non African Poem: The School Boy (Summary & Analysis) by William Blake

sixth stanza

When summer will rise in joy

Or will summer fruits appear?

Or how shall we collect what worries destroy,

Or bless the ripe year,

When do the winter gusts occur?

If all the things said in the fifth stanza come to pass, if indeed he is deprived of his joy and receives sorrow in return, how can his parents expect fruit to appear in summer? You should worry that because of his choices, he will never be the same. He won't be able to withstand the "winter gusts" when they come.

Although this poem appeared inexperience songs,This child has not yet reached an age when he or she will truly feel sadness or despair. your youthmelodramaticObjections will fall on deaf ears.

Similar poetry

Similar poems using the same themes Blake is used in'The high school'they are not difficult to find. Many authors have thought about how best to learn and how nature can provide a better source of knowledge regardless of age. A perfect example of this is"When I heard the learned astronomer"vonWalt Whitman.

Other similar poems are'Like tapirs around my childhood, the old onesvonJohn Montague'For my nine year old mevonHelen Dunmore. Also check out this list we madeThe best poems about childhoodas well asThe best poems about nature.

About William Blake

William Blake was born in London, England November 1757. Blake grew up in modest circumstances and had a normal childhood, save for the fact that he was constantly exposed to visions. When he called, at the age of four he saw the head of God on a windowsill and later the prophet Ezekiel and a tree full of angels. From a young age, Blake was known for hisTowardsand drawing skills, and at fourteen he began an apprenticeship as an engraver, the career that would eventually make his living.

In 1782 Blake married Catherine Boucher, who would become a valued assistant and loving wife. In 1784 Blake established his printing business and began producing his famous illuminated prints. It was through the convergence of his two loves, poetry and art, thatBlake published his collection of poems,songs of innocence,in 1789. This work was followed byexperience songsin 1794. These works are notable not only for their beautiful illustrations and verses, but for the combination of the two. These pieces are generally consideredBlake's masterpiece.

The next few years in Blake's life brought new problems. He was accused of expressing seditious or treacherous sentiments against the king, but fortunately he was found not guilty. This experience inspired Blake to write theepic poem,'Jerusalem.'

In 1824 his health deteriorated and he died in 1827 while he was preparing an illustrated version of Dante's work.Divine Comedy.

(Video) The Schoolboy #poetry #analysis



What is the analysis of the poem The School Boy? ›

"The School Boy" is a poem written in the pastoral tradition that focuses on the downsides of formal learning. It considers how going to school on a summer day "drives all joy away". The boy in this poem is more interested in escaping his classroom than he is with anything his teacher is trying to teach.

What is the message of William Blake poem? ›

Blake's poem reflects on the social, political and religious circumstances during the 18th century. “London” analyzes and points out cruelty and injustice occurring in the society and criticizes the church and the British monarchy.

What are the literary devices in the poem The School Boy? ›

Alliteration, Anaphora, and Metaphor are the poetic devices that have been used in the poem 'The School Boy. ' Explanation: The poetic devices that have been used in the poem 'The School Boy' by William Blake include Alliteration, Anaphora, and Metaphora.

What does the little boy lost symbolize? ›

The fact that the boy was lost signifies that he might have strayed from his original innocence. However, through the guidance of God he is led back to his mother, this exemplifies the pureness and innocence of children.

What is the theme of the poem the boy? ›

At root, "The Boy" is as much about the relationship between personal risk and poetic capital as it is about the slippery ground of subjectivity.

What does the child want in the poem the school boy? ›

He wants to lead a life of freedom but he can't because there are many restrictions on him.

What did William Blake emphasize? ›

Like his peers in the world of Romantic literature - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelly - Blake stressed the primacy of individual imagination and inspiration to the creative process, rejecting the Neoclassical emphasis on formal precision which had defined much 18th-century painting and poetry.

What is the metaphor used for school in The School Boy? ›

Answer: School is compared to a bird's cage. Question 6. (d) blossoms are blown away.

What metaphorically does the poem use for school boy? ›

The poet compares the children to a caged bird, asking, "How can the bird that is born for joy / Sit in a cage and sing?" In the next stanza, the children are compared to 'nipped flower buds', and they are "tender plants stripped / Of their joy in the springing day.” These comparisons constitute well for the use of the ...

What is the metaphor in The School Boy? ›

The schoolboy is compared to a plant and a bird to show how he is wilted or feels caged. Metaphor and simile are also used by the poet: 'under the cruel eye outworn'. The use of alliteration gives it a lyrical quality: 'skylark sings'.

What is the main message of the lost boy? ›

The search for home and family is the overarching theme of Pelzer's memoir. Because of his early experiences of abuse and neglect, David feels as if he has no real home or family while he is living with his parents.

Why was the boy upset on losing his boy? ›

The boy was upset on losing his ball because sentiments of his childhood were attached to it. As the boy stands watching his ball in the harbour, he realizes that his young days have gone away with the ball and he can never get them back. Was this answer helpful?

What is the central message of the story the lost child? ›

The story conveys the message that children love their parents unconditionally. The lost child thinks of his father as a strict person when he demands toys from him. He does not press his parents for sweets or garlands etc because he accepts that they will never grant him his wish.

What is the mood of the school boy? ›

The school boy is unhappy.

What is the main theme of the poem Why? ›

Theme is the lesson about life or statement about human nature that the poem expresses. To determine theme, start by figuring out the main idea. Then keep looking around the poem for details such as the structure, sounds, word choice, and any poetic devices.

What is the tone of the poem the school boy? ›

In the second stanza and onwards, the tone totally changes from delight, rejoicing and hope to dismay joylessness. The schoolboy says that going to the school in the summer morning is something which takes away all his joy.

What is the main idea of the poem children? ›

The poem instructs parents to view their children, not as their own, but rather as part of God or the divine. Parents should not put limits on their souls by imposing their thoughts on them. Parents should simply nourish their children as much as they can and recognize they are only mediums for the divine.

What was boys plea to his parents? ›

What was boy's plea to his parents? Answer: The boy appears to his father and mother that his youth had shortened by the pressure of school and books, he was not been able to enjoy his life yet and if he not been able to do so now he would never yet a chance to enjoy his childhood life as he become old man.

What is the problem did the school boy have in the poem? ›

The school boy says that having to go to school every morning in summers robs them of all the joy and happiness. In school, they are constantly under the watch of their teacher which he feels is “cruel” as it takes their freedom away.

What did Blake think about expressing feelings and emotions? ›

Blake emphasises the idea that emotions should be expressed rather than contained, an innovative and controversial stance at the time. The speaker talks about their different approaches to anger. Communication caused anger to subside but suppression caused it to grow.

What is the symbolism in Blake poetry? ›

The major symbols in Blake's poetry are; lamb, rose, children, tiger, garden, stars, forest, looms and net. William Blake loves lambs. They connect religion with both human and natural world. Traditionally, the lamb is a symbol of renewal, victory of life upon death, gentleness, tenderness and innocence.

What did William Blake believe about society? ›

Blake was a visionary. He felt very strongly about the way the Industrial Revolution was doing more harm than good and should be stopped. He didn't like the way children were used as workmen because of their size and the way they were discriminated against.

What does the boy compare himself to and why ?( The School Boy? ›

Like a caged bird, the boy is also not free to do any thing at his own will. He wants to lead a life of freedom but he can't because there are many restrictions on him.

Why does the kid hate school in the poem The School Boy? ›

He feels the school as a prison The thought of going to school creates fear and anxiety in him and the child loses his happiness he is unable to concentrate; he doesnt show interest in learning.

What are the themes in The School Boy? ›

The main theme is the sorrow that the boy feels having to go to school, when he wants to enjoy summer. He has the obligation to go to a close space, but he wants to go outside. Another theme is nature, the freedom that it represents for the boy and the opression of the class.

How does The School Boy view his experience in school in The School Boy? ›

Answer : In the poem 'The School Boy' by William Blake, the school boy does not like going to school. He is tired, bored, annoyed and tensed when he is trapped in the classroom by his supervising teacher. He wants to play outside in the pleasant summer weather but is confined to the walls of the classroom.

What is the boy fond of doing in the poem The School Boy? ›

What is the boy fond of doing? The boy is fond of waking up in a summer morning and spending his time observing birds in the tree and admiring elements of his natural surroundings.

How is the boy described in the poem Why? ›

3. What sort of a boy is described in the poem? Ans. Curious.

Why were the boys called the Lost Boys? ›

Most just six or seven years old, they fled to Ethiopia to escape death or induction into the northern army. They walked more than a thousand miles, half of them dying before reaching Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. The survivors of this tragic exodus became known as the Lost Boys of Sudan.

What happens at the end of Lost Boys? ›

David is impaled, but there is no change in Michael, Star, or Laddie, forcing the group to conclude they still have not accounted for the master vampire. Lucy and Max then return home from their date and Max is revealed to be the head vampire.

Why did the Lost Boys flee? ›

In 1987, civil war drove an estimated 20,000 young boys from their families and villages in The Republic of South Sudan. Most just six or seven years old, they fled to neighboring Ethiopia to escape persecution and war. It was a journey on foot across more than 1,000 miles of dangerous desert.

What responsibility does the boy realize? ›

He is sensing his first responsibility as he has lost the ball. The boy will learn how to stand up and leave the losses behind as he would have understood the true meaning and nature of the loss.

Why did the boy feel guilty of taking the? ›

He is feeling guilty for having taken the boat in a stealthy manner.

What lesson of life does the boy learn through the act of losing his ball? ›

The poet suggests that from the loss of the ball, the boy is learning how to stand up in a world of possessions where he will lose things, will buy some more to replace the ones lost, but would never be able to buy back the thing that he had lost. He is sensing his first responsibility as he has lost the ball.

What did The Lost Child want in the end of the story why? ›

Towards the end, I think that the child reunites with his parents. The man who found the boy crying picked him up and showed him around the fair to cheer him up. As the child only wanted his parents, I feel that the man would try to search for his parents and try his best to unite them.

What did the child realize at last in the lesson The Lost Child? ›

Finally, he could not resist the roundabout and turned back for his parents' response to his plea for a ride. At this point, he realised that he had lost his way since his parents were nowhere to be found. A deep cry of anxiety and insecurity choked his throat.

What did the child realize at the end of the story The Lost Child? ›

Explanation: It seems that the child would have eventually found his parents with the help of the man. The man would have managed to calm him down. He was reliable and good-natured as is evident in the story in the many ways in which he tried to help the child.

What is the main idea of the poem among school children? ›

Answer and Explanation: The central idea underlying this poem is the relationship between body and soul. Yeats is asserting the truth of ultimate unity between the physical body and the spiritual component to human existence.

What is the theme of the poem the school children? ›

In the poem, the speaker's visit to one such school prompts him to reflect on old age, youth, beauty, and change. Although old age brings a decline from the beauty and freshness of youth, the speaker comes to see life as a harmonious whole—meaning that every moment has its own pleasures and rewards.

What is the tone of The School Boy? ›

“The School Boy” is a poem written by William Blake. The poem is divided into five stanzas. In the first stanza, he wakes to the sound of birds and enjoys the pleasant summer morning. However, the tone shifts in the later stanzas as he expresses his dislike of going to school.

What is the main theme of the poem answers? ›

Theme is the lesson about life or statement about human nature that the poem expresses. To determine theme, start by figuring out the main idea. Then keep looking around the poem for details such as the structure, sounds, word choice, and any poetic devices.

What is the poem among school children about briefly summarize? ›

In summary, 'Among School Children' is about a visit made by the ageing Yeats to a convent school in Waterford, Ireland in February 1926. As a Senator, Yeats is visiting the school as a public figure, but the poem is a record of his private thoughts.

What is the conclusion of the poem among school children? ›

Conclusion. Throughout the poem, Yeats realizes that life as we know it is meaningless. A mothers' anxiety for her coming son is meaningless when you consider that the son ages and dies eventually. The mother's expectations of her son even when he is alive never come true.

How does a child feel in school according to the poet? ›

The poet here compares a child in school as a bird in a cage. He thus says that as a bird is unhappy in the cage so is a child in school. He says that a child who is scared by his parents and teachers cannot be happy and joyful.

What is the theme and central idea of the poem childhood? ›

Childhood Central Idea of the Poem

In this poem the poet thinks deeply over the question of his lost childhood. Childhood is a stage of innocence in which the child believes others and loves unconditionally. The poet has tried to identify some stages of his life when his thoughts and perceptions of the world changed.

Why does the poet want every child to be in the school? ›

He believes that their life can be changed by providing them access to education and other resources. This would help them break out of the shackles of poverty.

How does The School Boy view his experience in the school? ›

In the poem 'The School Boy' by William Blake, the school boy does not like going to school. He is tired, bored, annoyed and tensed when he is trapped in the classroom by his supervising teacher. He wants to play outside in the pleasant summer weather but is confined to the walls of the classroom.

Why does he sit drooping? ›

Detailed Solution for Test: The School Boy - 2 - Question 5 At times the school boy sits drooping because the atmosphere in the class is not good. Ah ! then at times I drooping sit, And spend many an anxious hour.

What tone is the poem? ›

The poet's attitude toward the poem's speaker, reader, and subject matter, as interpreted by the reader. Often described as a “mood” that pervades the experience of reading the poem, it is created by the poem's vocabulary, metrical regularity or irregularity, syntax, use of figurative language, and rhyme.

Why does The School Boy compare himself with a bird? ›

Like a caged bird, the boy is also not free to do any thing at his own will. He wants to lead a life of freedom but he can't because there are many restrictions on him.

Why does the boy think is a cage in the poem The School Boy? ›

There are strict teachers who deal with children in an authoritarian manner. Children are made to study books which they find uninteresting. That is why the boy considers the school a cage. Just as a bird that wants to be free and soar high, singing and flapping its wings, the schoolboy yearns for freedom from school.


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