roselie87 (roselie87) wrote,

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Literature Entry WEEK SEVEN: Songs of Innocence/Experience continued

I have to say that i am extremely happy that we are still delving deeply into the works of Blake because i feel that i get to know him best when doing so. this week we furthered our studies on the Songs of Innocence and Experience and although it is not a poem that we together have had a look at, i would like to give some insight i have gathered from the poem "The Tyger".

Now i found that whenever i do "Blake" internet searches, this poem seemed to creep up and it was its innumerable mentions that inspired me to have a read. what i found most interesting is that like some of the poems we've had a look at as a class, this one also has an 'opposite'. These poems, for me, tend to exude the most meaning because they are expressed in two different ways.

The gentle lamb (Songs of Innocence) and the dire tiger (Songs of Experience) define childhood by setting a contrast between the innocence of youth and the experience of age. "The Lamb" is written with childish repetitions ("Little Lamb who made thee" and "Little Lamb I'll tell thee") and a selection of words which could almost satisfy a nursery rhyme form. In this poem the Lamb could represent youthful immaculateness. In contrast, "The Tyger" is hard-boiled in respect to word choice and representation. "The Tyger" is a poem which has the author still making many inquiries, like in "the Lamb”, but these are almost chant-like in their reiterations. The question at hand: could the same creator have made both the tiger and the lamb?

The Romantic Period’s affinity towards childhood is epitomized in "The Lamb". "The Lamb’s" introductory lines set the style for what follows: an innocent poem about a amiable lamb and its creator. It sounds similar to a child's story book (have you ever read " Guess how much I love you?). What follows are lines that contain questions of whom it was who created such a docile creature with "clothing of delight" and then it goes on to answer the question - to know the creator. The author then attempts to explain. What the author reveals is something magical - that the lamb’s creator is none different then the lamb itself (Jesus Christ is often described as a lamb). The poem is one of a child’s curiosities, untainted conception of creation, and love of all things celestial.

The Lamb’s nearly polar opposite is The Tyger. Instead of the innocent lamb we now have the frightful tiger- the emblem of nature red in tooth and claw- that embodies experience. William Blake’s words have turned from heavenly to hellish in the transition from lamb to tiger. "Burnt the fire of thine eye," and "What the hand dare seize the fire?" are examples of how sombre and serrated his language is in this poem. No longer is the author asking about origins, but is now asking if he who made the innocuous lamb was capable of making such a dreadful beast. Experience asks questions unlike those of innocence. Innocence is "why and how?" while experience is "why and how do things go wrong, and why me?" In the poems, innocence is exhilaration and grace, contrasting with experience which is ill-favored and formidable.



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