Monday, September 22, 2014

Blake, metaphor and analogy.

Blake showed us a depressing, suffering, and cold world in Songs of Experience. Teenagers were stuck in the school; “hapless soldier’s sigh”; “youthful harlot’s curse”; people’s mind and desire were imprisoned by the traditional concept and religion. He gave us a dark, ugly and evil “experience” world. It just so different compared to Songs of Innocence. I was shocked by the feelings that Songs of Experience express to me. In “The Sick Rose” and “the Tiger”, Blake showed his remarkable skills to describe things by metaphors and analogies. He did not directly tell us how this world looks like, but used those metaphors and analogies to provide a vivid picture to make us feel this world.

In “The Sick Rose”, Blake described an invisible worm tired to find a sick rose in a howling storm night in the first section. It made me think about what will happen. In the second section, the worm find the rose actually, and “his dark secret love destroyed rose’s life.” The first thought I come up with is a young man take away the girl’s chastity. The illustration about this poem also proved my thought since girls become the rose’s leaves, and the worm eat the leaves up left in the picture. It looks like the rose already dying; represent those girls are lost them themselves in the dark secret love. The selfish and evil “worm” destroyed the pure “rose”. It is interesting I come up with a second thought after I read the poem on the illustration. Why does the “worm” look like full of energy? He tried so hard to go up. In the opposite, the rose droop her head on the ground, looks like decadent and lost. The girl in the middle of the rose tried to hug something. Even if the “worm” represents some bad evil things, does the rose one hundred percent pure? I doubt that. It made me think about an old principle in China, there is no simply black or white in the real world, most of things are gray. It reminds me that evil and foul exists in everyone’s soul, the appearance of beautiful do not decide the inside good and evil. I have to say combine the poem and illustration actually give me much more thoughts compare to read poem only. The way Blake used to express his mind provided us more choices to understand his poem.

In “The Tiger”, Blake used his words to describe a powerful king of the beasts. The whole poem repeated using fire to describe the tiger. When I read this poem, the hot feeling occupied my mind. What is a tiger? Just an animal? I have to say most of time tiger symbolizes power. After I read the poem I keep thinking why Blake gave us a vivid picture of a tiger. The whole Songs of Experience tried to describe a cold, cruel and depressing world; a tiger seems like do not belong to this world. I keep thinking about the tiger and I come up with a roughly idea --- this tiger means revolution. The fire and the tiger made me felt the violence and the heat only revolution can bring to this world. If we suppose the illustration is a small world, we can see the tiger burned the whole world (the whole poem is on fire in the illustration). After the revolution the sky is still blue, but the cost of revolution damaged the whole society. The second guess is that the tiger is a monarch or a hierarchy. In the illustration, there is only a tiger in the picture without any other creatures. It represents some kind of king’s situation --- there is only sky above his head, and ground under his feet, except these two things, everyone is his subject. Those two thoughts also come up with the understanding of the combination of poem and illustration.

In the Songs of Innocence and Experience, Blake used the metaphor and analogy to express infinite thoughts in finite poems. The illustrations also give us more choices to consider his poems. “The Sick Rose” and “The Tiger” are two good examples to show how he expressed his idea in the poem and illustration. When we come up with one thought and the illustration will remind us other possible ideas. It helped me to think deeply and widely. The metaphor and analogy both in poems and illustrations lead us into Blake’s “innocence and experience world”.


  1. Your first paragraph is generic, with nothing resembling an argument.

    After that, I'm going to move back and forth a little bit. First, let's talk about your English mechanics. I'd like to see you focus a little more on correctness, and a little less on complexity. Don't worry about trying to use semicolons, for instance - focus on making sure that every sentence has a correct verb. For instance, "The fire and the tiger made me felt the violence and the heat only revolution can bring to this world. " The sentence is present tense, and needs "feels", rather than felt. Getting the verbs right would be a great thing to focus on.

    You have the beginning of an interesting argument in the Tiger section. The Sick Rose section might have potential too, but it's much harder to follow (which might be partially a result of mechanical issues). It reads like two separate arguments about two separate poems, rather than a coherent argument bringing the two together. You want to focus! Arguing that the tiger signifies revolution isn't simple or easy, but it sure is interesting. Could this argument have been extended, and directly connected to the Sick Rose? Or maybe your second poem should have been something other than the Sick Rose. In any case, you want to *one* argument, which everything in the essay contributes to.

  2. Although your first paragraph doesn't show the argument you are trying tp portray, it could be used for a longer paper (with some editing to make more specific on what your argument is) because it is a productive thing to note in the differences between Blake's innocence and experience.

    I think the questions you are asking when you talk about "The Rose" are good, and are the beginnings of a paper. Your thoughts need to be more thought out. In addition, "Tiger" is more thought out but I think what could make this entry better is trying to answer the question, "Why does Blake do this?"