“The School Boy” is a poem written by William Blake. The poem is divided into five stanzas. In the first stanza, he wakes to the sound of birds and enjoys the pleasant summer morning. However, the tone shifts in the later stanzas as he expresses his dislike of going to school. He says that the children spend their days in utter despair under the “cruel eye” of their teacher. The speaker also compares his plight to a caged bird, and a tender plant whose life has been plucked away. He also poses several rhetorical questions to his parents and society, expressing the meaningless life of young students.
According to the speaker, a school is a place where a child's individuality and independence are snatched away. Schools are often associated with punishments and fear. As a result, the child's wings of imagination and possibilities are restrained, and he is made to forget his "youthful spring". The speaker asks his parents how can summer be enjoyable when there is a lot of destruction happening within him. He wonders how a plant can produce fruit when the bud and blossoms are plucked away. Likewise, how can a child grow into a talented and successful person if the very childhood is stolen away from them? The poem is a call to action against the constraining, cage-like educational system and the intolerable pressure and expectations forced upon the kids by their parents.