Monday, September 15, 2014

Blake - The Little Black Boy

                The pictures associated with “The Little Black Boy” has a combination of dark and vibrant colors.  In the first image, Blake uses darker colors and covers most of the image with black.  The only part which is vibrant is the sun, which has strong reds and yellows.  The two people and sun are the main focal points in the image.  The tree acts as a frame around the people looking at the sun.  Blake colored the tree dark and didn’t give it visual details.  This connects with the poem when the mother says being black is just a cloud.  The tree is giving shade from the sun similar to a cloud.
                The poem changes the time frame of when the mother and son are sitting in the grove.  It starts out with it describing the heat of the day, changes to morning sun, and ends with it being noon.  The redness of the sun makes it seem like it is a hot day.  The mother and son are also colored orange and red.  The red could be the reflection from the sun or the fact that they are hot from the sun.   Pairing the poem with how the people are colored make them look hot.  There are yellows and oranges radiating out from the center of the sun giving it a bright appearance.  It is interesting that the color from the sun stops where the people are sitting.  The boys arm acts like a blockade that the sun can’t get through.
                The border of the text has red and black curly lines.  A majority of the curls are on the right side which make it look busy.  The red lines make it a little distracting, but they stay far enough from the text.  Red lines around the title gives it importance and looks more elaborate.  Blake uses a blue color where the text is placed to represent the sky.    Using a lighter color draws the reader to the middle and makes the text easier to read.  The contrast of the light and dark puts more emphasis on the on the light part of the image.
                The way I interpreted the poem was that it was a blessing to be black.  The mother described being black as a necessity in life.  It is just like being under a tree in the hot sun.  The darkness of the image makes it gloomier and not as uplifting.  Along with the tree being a cloud, I interpreted the tree as the idea the child has about being black.  It can be a metaphor that the issue will always be hovering over top of him.  The boy pointing to the dark tree gives it emphasis and importance.
The poem continues with another picture that is more suited for the passage.  Blake uses lighter colors and keeps a small portion of the ground dark.  The bent tree is still over the people, but the tree is mostly yellow.  The poem says that the white boy will love him because he will shade him from the heat.  I felt that the tree had a more positive role in the picture.  The tree is drawn so that it grows up into the text and has more of a role in the picture.  There is also a religious feel to the way it is colored.  The mother has a white circle around her head that looks like an aura.  Pictures of angels sometimes are shown like this instead of wearing halos.  The mother is also holding something that looks like a shepherd’s cane.  This signifies her guidance and wanting to help the children.  Her clothes are colored a light blue, which gives her a soft and loving quality.  The black boy is also colored a light blue.  He is pointing towards the other boy instead of towards the tree.  This shifts the focus of the character from the tree to the other boy.
                The images in the poem are colored in very different ways.  The color scheme changed from dark to light.  This could play on the fact the boy was not comfortable with being black and eventually was content with the mother’s explanation.  Blake uses coloring in the first image to bring out the title and the sun.  The coloring in the second image focused more on the people and the tree.  Changing the light and dark in the picture changes the interpretation of the poem.  I was more attentive to the boy being black in the first part and the helping of others in the second part.


  1. You do a good job addressing how the images connect with the text, but I am having trouble seeing your argument in this essay. In the first paragraph, you begin to describe the poem and then continue the description in the following paragraphs. I think the idea of the color black is interesting, but it is explained in detail in the poem. I don't see how your description of the use of black changes how I read the poem. You say, "Changing the light and dark in the picture changes the interpretation of the poem," but you fail to say what that change is. Also, you mention a lot of different colors in your essay, rather than one in particular, making your thoughts harder to follow. You do a nice job addressing how the images compare to the text.

    As an aside, I would proofread your text for verb tenses as it gets confusing in some parts. For example, the first sentence should use have rather than has. And again in the last paragraph, “The color scheme changed from dark to light” should be “The color scheme changes from dark to light.” This is not a major flaw, but it does make your essay less sound.

    I think if you picked a particular color (black, red, or blue), then your essay would be a lot more polished. Also, I think you should make it clearer how your description of the poem changes the way the reader interprets it. You describe the poem and images nicely, but without a connection to an argument, I think it is too much summary. I think if you pick a particular idea, your thoughts would be clearer and would make this essay a lot more polished.

  2. While your first paragraph is basically a description, it's a focused and interesting description, which zeroes in on what I believe to be very relevant details. The second paragraph also focuses on good details, but I'd really like a clearer indication of your argument. The boy's arm as a blockage, incidentally, is my favorite point so far - it's a beautiful observation which matches the text perfectly.

    I'm really not sure what your third paragraph is doing. Your observations are ok, but what purpose do they serve? For instance, it's one thing to show that the right border looks busy - it's another to explain why we should care. Again, your observations need to serve an argument!

    In the last couple paragraphs you focus too much on making more observations (all detailed, all fine in themselves), and not nearly enough on *argument*. Here's an example of what you could do. In your analysis of the first page, you point out that the boy's arm is lifted "like a blockade." Then in the second to last paragraph you say this: "The poem says that the white boy will love him because he will shade him from the heat" and this "He is pointing towards the other boy instead of towards the tree. This shifts the focus of the character from the tree to the other boy." You are almost, but not quite, explaining how the way the little boy holds is arms is relevant to our understanding of the text. He envisions himself at the beginning as needing to protect the white boy from the sun (and we see that blockade-like gesture in his mother's presence), but now that protection is no longer necessary, and he is pointing to the boy instead. Fill in the blanks and explain how it all makes sense together, rather than just piling up observations!

    This: "I was more attentive to the boy being black in the first part and the helping of others in the second part" isn't an argument. You have great observations which could be great evidence for a better developed argument, but you aren't actually clarifying your viewpoint and connecting all this disconnected data yet.

    Suzanne gives many ideas to help you focus. What I don't want you to lose is your fantastic attention to detail - you just need to really write in depth about the details that most matter. In one sentence, what do you want us to take away from your essay?