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The Sick Rose

William Blake

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life and death
Added by: alvin maraņa
rose signifies life and the "invisible worm" is a driving force affecting this rose. sickness doesn't mean death but an affliction of a malady brought by a force either by nature or by a creature deliberately doing something. however, in some analysis, it was found out that this might be a contamination of the purity represented and possessed by the rose. for further analysis, other critics relate this to Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily"
Added by: zephyr
You ppl cannot simply state that you have the 'actual meaning' of this poem. It is totally arrogant. Only Blake knows the actual meaning to this poem.
Added by: ethel
i have read the poem a lot of times already but still i cant make up my mind on what does it all mean... all i know is it is about, innocence being corrupted... it is about lust... evil deeds...
the sick rose
Added by: Papa Egg
the poem is about virginity. The rose is the virginity, which is sickened by the worm (a phallic symbol). the howling night could easily be a metaphor for the sexual act. the location of virginity ( a bed of crimson joy) represents both shame from the act and also the female genitalia. the life of the virgin is destroyed by this act and so Blake is making comment on the way that society restricted emotions and feelings at the time and frowned on sex before marriage.(Blake once said that he would rather kill a new born child than repress his desires)
Added by: jen
the poem is full of ambiguity so there is no right or wrong answer.
the worm can symbolises the priest, he who encouraged marriaged. so the poem for me is about marriage.
Blake was against religion as an institution. priest encouraged marrige even if it was loveless, it is a form of controlling the people, especialy women.
by 'forcing' people into loveless marriages, there is the act of 'rape'. it's about relationships that are destructive,& enslave us. Blake believed in freedom and in living with nature and of innoccence.
sick rose
Added by: me
i read this poem recently and at first thought of incest. of course it could be about rape, loss of virginity, homosexuality, disease, etc. the only obvious thing in this poem though is that it is a symbolic use of perticular words to envoke an emotional response relating to a violation of some kind. sex and death; i think blake wanted to be coy and subtle with this poem. imagination as alchemy.

The Sick Rose
Added by: Peter
I am surprised that no one has considered the crimson rose to symbolise England? Blake may be referring to the beauty of the open countryside and the freedom from oppression being stealthily corrupted by a unseen cancer - the avarice, exploitation and oppression of the industrial revolution - a blight on the garden 'bed' that is England.
Added by: jen
i have a new idea:
this poem can be about england.
hamlet says 'rose of the fair state'.
also the rose is the emblem of England.
england is sick, being corrupted by this worm which represents greed, ambition and political manuvering, the industrial revolutuion was the cause for all these changes.
the howling storm can be the constant howling of the factories.
all of this has robbed the innocence and beauty of the ros, and has therefore made it sick
The Sick Rose
Added by: Eleanor
I think this poem could have many meanings. I think it is a mother or father scolding a daughter who thinks she is in love with an undesirable character. But after reading these comments i think it could also just be about a rosr in blakes garden that is withering. I don't agree with the idea that it could be a priest but i have not done any research on it.
Added by: Marcy Jarvis
or maybe she's sick because she just saw the third season of the Sopranos for the first time including the scenes where Carmella cries at the painting of the Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine and the baby, thinks she has ovarian cancer and/or might be pregnant and everything else in my journals right down to the Bob Dylan lyrics "Return to Me." Now isn't that ironic? Ask Alanis. I'm sure she knows.

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