Recognizing the condition of enslavement to be unbounded by physical fetters, William Blake creates characters imbued in systemic institutions, first dictated by race in “The Little Black Boy,” then by gender roles in “Visions of the Daughters of Albion.” Because his characters never successfully defy social expectations, they remain trapped in their oppressive conditions, repetitive existences exemplified by the conclusion, “Thus every morning wails Oothoon, but Theotormon sits/ Upon the margind ocean conversing with shadows dire” (“Visions of the Daughters of Albion” 11/8. 11-12. 65). This stagnation, however, allows readers to become cognizant of slavery’s limitations, freeing them from the system’s indoctrination and highlighting the need for social and political reform. Although Blake would surely balk at the idea of a methodology driving his work, if one existed, this technique would epitomize it: by narrating realistic experiences of figures steeped in slavery, Blake elicits a contrary response from his readers by awakening their minds to the inherent flaws of this same dull round of oppression and inequality.

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