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An analysis on East London By Matthew Arnold please??

'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, look'd thrice dispirited.

I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
"Ill and o'erwork'd, how fare you in this scene?"
"Bravely!" said he; "for I of late have been
Much cheer'd with thoughts of Christ, the living bread."

O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light,
Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,

To cheer thee, and to right thee if thou roam
Not with lost toil thou labourest through the night!
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home.

  • English -

    Please understand that no one here will do your work for you. However, we will be happy to read over whatever you come up with and make suggestions and/or corrections.

    Please post what you think.

  • English -

    Well the old english is killing me. But so far i think that Arnold using the conditions of london during the 1800s to show how important faith and hope is. The preacher in the poem found strength in religion and God, and Arnold is saying that if one can set up a "everlasting light" or dream/ hope(maybe?)then they can work through the night without losing their cheerful spirit. I can't get the meaning of the last sentence though.

  • English -

    You're absolutely right so far.

    "Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home." That last sentence is just an extension of living with his strength and hope in God -- he is making heaven his home (in his mind), not earth, especially in this horrible, squalid city!

    The poem seems to be a type of sonnet: 14 lines total; shift of thought at the beginning of the ninth line.

    See what you think.

  • English -

    Thank you so much!
    One last thing. Is he confining the hope to just religion and God? or can hope/faith be found in other things too?

  • English -

    The preacher? Surely, his hope is only in God.

    The speaker? Hmmm. Do you think he's coming around to the preacher's way of thinking? Do you think he finds that the preacher's way is successful for coping with living in that city in those days?

  • English -

    I meant Arnold's advice to the reader/audience. But to the above question i think he does agree from the last three lines. "not with lost toil" says a lot about how Arnold think will happen to people if they have faith.

  • English -

    Good for you.

    One thing, though -- don't assume that the speaker in the poem is the author. Sometimes a speaker can be specifically identified; other times, not. Here's an example:
    In this poem, there are two speakers, neither of whom is the poet. Can you see it?

  • English -


    And here? Who is/are the speaker(s) in this one?

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