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Shane Martin
Mrs. Byrne
British Literature Honors
21 March 2013
The Garden of Love Analysis Paper

Romantic poet William Blake's The Garden of Love is one of the twenty six poems included in his Songs of Experience collection. The poem tells of William Blake's visit to the Garden of Love, a place where he spent most of his childhood. Much to his dismay, all that is left of the once-beautiful garden is a church, along with a graveyard where the beautiful flowers once were. The poem criticizes organized religion and how it limits human happiness and joy with its oppressive rules. For these reasons the poem received widespread criticism from many, especially the Catholic Church, for its direct criticism of organized faith and religion. Despite being a short poem, William Blake incorporates several stylistic devices into his poem to convey and emphasize his message to the reader. One of these is alliteration. In The Garden of Love, Blake often uses alliteration to draw attention to the issues he has with organized religion, the Catholic faith in particular. The most notable use of alliteration is the last line of the poem “And binding with briars, my joys and desires” (12) Knowing that a briar is a weed with a thorny stem, Blake is trying to tell the reader how organized faith intertwines itself, like a briar, in the lives of its participants, only to destroy and oppress everything that they enjoy and desire. William Blake creatively rhymes briars and desires in an effort to put more emphasis on how the Church has turned his childhood source of love, happiness, and joy into a place of death and despair. In the last stanza of the poem we see repeated use of anaphora. Blake repeats “and”, followed by a source of his unhappiness with what has become of The Garden of Love as a means of listing how the Church has ruined his garden. The poem concludes by saying "And binding with briars, my joys and desires." (12)
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