A Reader-Response Based Analysis of William Blake's "The Tyger" Essay

A Reader-Response Based Analysis of William Blake's "The Tyger" Essay

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This essay provides a Reader-Response based analysis of William Blake’s “The Tyger.” Following a brief overview of Reader-Response theory, where the subjects of the reader serve to give meaning to text, the essay begins focusing on the contradiction and the division that lives within the tiger itself. Blake’s “Tyger” is simultaneously a beautiful and ferocious creature. From this, the essay moves forward by examining the multiple references to symmetry made by Blake in “The Tyger,” and proposes that these are an overall collection that contains many of the tiger’s contradictions. Moving forward, the essay proposes, within the context of a secondary literature that debates the realism of Blake’s portrayal of the tiger, that while Blake does not represent an accurate tiger in his poem, this is largely irrelevant as the work is focused not on the tiger as an actual animal, but rather on the tiger as a myth of nature. With all of the above in mind, the essay concludes by noting that “The Tyger” is especially open to Reader-Response analyses because of its open-ended portrayal of the tiger as well as its openness to divergent interpretations. Reader-Response theories propose that works of literature exist in a mutual relationship between the reader and author. The meaning that a reader extracts from a text is a simultaneous result of both the author’s intent, and the reader’s interpretation of it (Roberts, 149). With this theory, there is an inherent subjectivity associated with the analysis of any work of literatur. An author may have a specific meaning to the story but another person can read the story and create his or her own interpretation that is just as meaningful as the author’s original ideas. Put another way, meani...

... middle of paper ...

...gle and simple interpretation of the poem makes it a responsive target for repeated critical thinking, interpretation, and re-reading. “The Tyger” is an approachable but uncatchable piece of art.

Works Cited

Baine, Mary R., and Rodney M. Baine. "Blake's Other Tigers, And "The Tyger"." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 15.4 (1975): 563-78.
Bloom, Harold. "Critical Analysis Of "The Tyger " Bloom's Major Poets: William Blake. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York, NY: Chelsea House, 2003. 17-19.
Nurmi, Martin K. "Blake's Revisions of the Tiger." Publication of the Modern Language Association 71.4 (1956): 669-85.
Price, Martin. "Martin Price on Terror and Symmetry In "The Tyger"." William Blake (Bloom's Major Poets). Ed. Harold Bloom. New York, NY: Chelsea House 2003. 38-40.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall 2011.

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