Essay on Innocence and Experience

Essay on Innocence and Experience

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William Blake was an English poet who was home schooled by his parents and found it difficult to socialize with other children which made him into a bit of an outcast as a child. His family was very religious, but they didn’t always agree with the church’s teachings. Because Blake didn’t have many friends and was schooled at home, he had a lot of time to reflect on life. There is a lot of biblical discourse in Blake’s work especially in his famous books Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Songs of Innocence has poems that speak of God in a redemptive sense like the teachings from the New Testament where as Songs of Experience are about the God who has created evil and brought suffering to the world. This essay is going to compare and contrast two poems, one from each book entitled The Lamb from the book Songs of Innocence and The Tyger from the book Songs of Experience. Both poems are examples of Anaphora, meaning one word or phrase will repeat throughout the poem lending weight and emphasis.
Blake’s The Lamb is short having only two stanzas. Each stanza contains five rhymed couplets with repetition in the beginning, middle and at the end of the poem. The poem starts with a question, “Little Lamb, who made thee? / Dost thou know who made thee?” (Lines 1-2). Here the speaker is clearly asking the lamb of its origins and then questions the lamb again, asking if he truly knows who his creator is. Blake then goes on to describe the gifts of life the lamb has been given from his creator beginning with life itself, food, clothing, a voice “Making all the vales rejoice!” (Line 8). The speaker then again questions the lamb in lines 9 and 10 repeating the same questions from lines 1 and 2.
In the second stanza, the speaker begi...


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...ed in the poem The Tyger and the poem The Lamb. Another contrast is the open awe of The Tyger and the easy confidence of The Lamb. The predator is the tyger and its prey is the lamb. The tyger brings power, darkness and danger, but the lamb brings light and goodness. The tyger is the adult who has experience and the lamb is the child who knows nothing but innocence. The tyger and the lamb are not only opposites, but they create a paradox in the speakers mind.
Unlike The Lamb, where in the poem there are seven questions and answers, The Tyger is fifteen unanswered questions. Many people find themselves asking themselves unanswerable questions and questions that contain answers about life, nature, God and the universe. Blake is attempting to authenticate the complexity of the creatures of our world that there is a creator God and that we are not here by accident.

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