Childhood Essay

Childhood Essay

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At its fundamental level, adulthood is simply the end of childhood, and the two stages are, by all accounts, drastically different. In the major works of poetry by William Blake and William Wordsworth, the dynamic between these two phases of life is analyzed and articulated. In both Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience and many of Wordsworth’s works, childhood is portrayed as a superior state of mental capacity and freedom. The two poets echo one another in asserting that the individual’s progression into adulthood diminishes this childhood voice. In essence, both poets demonstrate an adoration for the vision possessed by a child, and an aversion to the mental state of adulthood. Although both Blake and Wordsworth show childhood as a state of greater innocence and spiritual vision, their view of its relationship with adulthood differs - Blake believes that childhood is crushed by adulthood, whereas Wordsworth sees childhood living on within the adult.
In the William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the vision of children and adults are placed in opposition of one another. Blake portrays childhood as a time of optimism and positivity, of heightened connection with the natural world, and where joy is the overpowering emotion. This joyful nature is shown in Infant Joy, where the speaker, a newborn baby, states “’I happy am,/ Joy is my name.’” (Line 4-5) The speaker in this poem is portrayed as being immediately joyful, which represents Blake’s larger view of childhood as a state of joy that is untouched by humanity, and is untarnished by the experience of the real world. In contrast, Blake’s portrayal of adulthood is one of negativity and pessimism. Blake’s child saw the most cheerful aspects of the natural wo...


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...lake and Wordsworth see the relationship between childhood and adulthood as one of difference in vision and state of mind. The two poets mirror each other in this assertion, but differ elsewhere. While Blake sees this dichotomy as one of conflict, Wordsworth feels that the two mindsets are able to coexist within the individual. The relationship between children and adults is one that is by no means new to human life. The two epochs of human existence are drastically different in their mindsets and their views of the world. In the poetry of William Blake and William Wordsworth, this difference between children and adults and their respective states of mind is articulated and developed. As a person ages, they move undeniably from childhood to adulthood, and their mentality moves with them. On the backs of Blake and Wordsworth, the reader is taken along this journey.

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