The Individual and Society

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The Individual and Society Every individual is an element of some sort of society and in that society it is common for the individual to feel isolated or alienated. As I read the works assigned in class, I realized that social and economical conditions are very often a significant cause of an individual’s feeling of isolation or alienation from his or her society. The two characters or speakers that I thought shared the most in common with their thoughts were the speaker in Hughes’ Theme for English B and the speaker in Blake’s London. The roles of social and economic conditions play a part in shaping the individuals attitudes and relationships with their society. William Blake’s poem London is set in the streets of London during the immense Black Death. Blake immediately expresses the characters feeling of isolation from his society from line three and four, “And mark in every face I meet, marks of weakness, marks of woe”. The character feels he is among a devastating crisis in his society and expresses his dark views of the religious and governmental institutions. The “black’ning Church” and the bloody “Palace walls” can be seen to represent the misused power and corruption. His attitude toward his society was altered because of the social and economical conditions. Imagine walking down the street and hearing “…every cry of every man” and “…every Infant’s cry of fear”. Not only does he feel alienated or cut off from his sick society, but he feels isolated from his government. Like in Blake’s poem London, Hughes too portrays a character that expresses the same feeling of isolation and alienation from his society. In the poem Theme for English B, a young black man was instructed to: “Go home and write A page tonight And let that page come out of you – Then, it will be true.” The character went home and wrote everything about him. As I read
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