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The Sick Rose

William Blake

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The Sick Rose
Added by: Sarah-Lou
I am currently studying songs of innocence and experience for A-level english lit and have only just begun. Our lesson on the interpretations of Blake's The Sick Rose was extremely productive and we came up with several interpretations for the poem including: disease, love, alcoholism, poverty, sex, infertility, infidelity, depression, evil, a life change for the worse, a destroyed garden (the literal example) rape, terrorism (if read in context with today's times) death, New Labour Party (again in a modern context) England, a sick society and Vampires. All of these interpretations are neither wrong nor right - Blake's poem means exactly what each individual reader connotes from the poem.
Added by: Freddie
Go in fear of abstraction, but equally go in fear of creating absolute definitions for symbolic objects. To say, "The worm is a priest" is a valid comment, and a worthwhile jump off for comment, but it carries the hazard of oversimplification. Never allow a single interpretation to overwhelm your ability to continue to question a poems meaning. The sexual trope is obvious, but that does not mean that an act of physical love is necessarily present. Remember, these are the songs of innocence and experience, and while the idea of a physical loss of virginity is valid, the loss might well be a more generalized thing; a kind of growing up separate from losing one's virginty.
Politics in the sick rose
Added by: Jenna
i am sorry, but everyone reads this poem as if it iabout sexuality and disease. if you look at blakes political views at the time he wrote this poem and during his liftime, you would realise that this is a poem about england and its revolutions. blake was worried that england was being ruined by its own people, and that the beauty in england was going to be destroyed, just like france was, by bitter industrial and political revolution. if you read the peom this way it makes a lot more sense in the light that alot of blakes poetry was about his feeling of loss and anger at the society that perpetuated this loss. it is a lament for the people of england, who thought that they were helping themselves, when they were hurting themselves.
real meaning
Added by: Burnett
this poem is about the movie titanic. It is written from the point of view of Cal. Line by line: You make me sick rose, how dare you sleep with his peasent ,who comes through the night, he has been in your bed, and you have kept this love a secret, You have destroyed your life, all for this peasent.
Added by: Jenzie Piez (13)
I think that the poem could have 2 meanings 1) The rose could mean a flower although it is spelt with a capital letter because during that time period there was the Industrial Revolution which was the distruction of nature. 2) It could also mean a lady of the name Rose and could mean an affiair and the invisable worm could be the person involved wiv the relationship because it is unnoticable that he is moving slowly separating the relationship
Added by: Leah
Course it's not about the movie Titanic!
I recken the rose is the tradicional symbol of feminine beauty, and the worm is a phallic symbol.
But most of Blake's poems can be taken to be about sex.
The love in the poem is secret and corrupted by the worm.
But the rose could symbalise the natural world, and the worm detroys it, (or the industrial revolution, destroying the natural world)
Added by: rachael
I believe the poem is about some kind of deadly addiction, the person is the rose which represents life, the worm is the substance, this is the persons dark-evil secret love which destroys the life in the end.
this is going too far
Added by: peace
Goodness! I read all 51 comments, and I can see that the issue is going back and forth between rape and a...priest? Further down the page, there is something about Titanic, which is quite confusing! Why can't this just be a simple analysis? William, if you're up there, I bet you're laughing your head off at all of these comments.

My opinion? Just a way of saying forbidden love. It could even be the loss of innocence, in GENERAL.
Added by: nicole
have u read The Picture of Dorian Gray? the book is mainly about how lord henry 'killed' dorian's old life- his purity and innocence, and basically turned him into a wicked man. perhaps this poem is rather about the same thing? the beautiful rose, influenced by some evil thing, changing the once pure, innocent spirit into something else.

it doesn't have to be sexual or physical, rather mentally and emotionally?
Added by: James Gillard
This poem is not about sex at all but is a trasparancy on the Industrial revolution of the time that Blake opposed.
The rose is a symbol of England.

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