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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

First of all, "London, 1802" is a sonnet. This means a few things off the bat: it's written in iambic pentameter (or, in this case, a pentameter that's most often iambic). What, you may ask, does t...

Speaker

There are two Wordsworths operating in this poem, and, as a result, it seems as if two speakers surface. The first speaker is stern, somewhat judgmental, and generally disapproving. The second is a...

Setting

The title may declare the setting of this poem to be "London, 1802," but we don't envision a big, bustling, dirty city when we read it – instead, the mental space created by the poem is the "...

Sound Check

This poem is extra-special-fancy by Wordsworth's standards; we can imagine him sitting down, clearing his throat, cracking his knuckles, and thinking, "What would Milton like?" This is kind of like...

What's Up With the Title?

So, the poem was written in 1802 – and we'd guess that it was written in and about London. It's pretty straightforward. The poet paints a picture of the state of the English people as he saw...

Calling Card

Part of what makes Wordsworth's poetry so appealing, even two centuries after its first publication, is its readable, direct quality. So much of the poetry we encounter is super-complicated –...

Tough-O-Meter

Wordsworth is a pretty straightforward guy most of the time. If anything, he has a tendency to be earnest to a fault. His poetic mission was to express emotion clearly and passionately – whic...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

For a fleeting moment at the beginning of this poem, we think, "Hey there, Wordsworth, you're getting kind of racy!" All this talk of England being "a fen/ of stagnant waters" (2-3) makes us wonder...

Shout Outs

John Milton (the whole poem!)
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