Monday, September 15, 2014

Blake- Pictures are Worth 1000 Words

Blake’s poetry in Songs of Innocence is written in nursery rhyme fashion. Nursery rhymes are made for the young and innocent, and can be occasionally sung. The introduction to Songs of Innocence was Blake's way of expressing how he thought the human interaction with literature is powerful. The angel told the man to pipe his beautiful song, and then sing his beautiful song. Those both brought the angel to tears, yet once he was told to write the songs, the angel vanished thus making it seem as if the written word is not as moving as the other forms of communication. In order to compensate for this, Blake does his poetry in multiple prongs, his actual poetry, the engraved piece, and finally the painted portion. These images and colors that accompany the poem add an extra dimension to the written word, which can add deeper meaning and further the understanding.
One poem that shows how the images play off of the poems is “Little Boy Lost”. The poem is written in the voice of a little boy who is pleading for his father to come back all to no avail.While this poem is fairly simple to understand, without even reading it or looking at the drawing of the boy himself the environment around him is telling a story all on its own. Much like in Lynn Ward’s Vertigo the environment is tilted suggesting that the world is askew. In this case, instead of lamp posts and mailboxes, its the trees that tilt, so instead of the state in distress it is  Mother Nature who is burdened and yearning after the father. Mother nature must represent the boys mother who is also stricken by the loss of her husband. On top of the tilted nature, the trees are also stripped bare of leaves, thus indicating a loss of health and overall sadness.
The next poem sequentially is called “Little Boy Found”. In the background of this poem the trees, while still stripped bare of any leaves are now standing straight up. Around the characters there is more light than in the last poem where the boy was lost. With the title and imagery, one can assume that the boy has now found something to replace his father last previously and the Mother Nature, while still hurt is in better shape than before. Once again, without reading the poem one can derive the story from imagery alone. The actual text tells the story of the little boy finding god in the form of his father and them walking back to his mother, once reunited they weep into each others arms.
Finally, looking at the “Laughing Song” there is a stark contrast in environment. The title per say explains that the story will be more jovial. Looking at the abundance of leaves around the trees in the picture can help confirm this thought. The nature of this poem, pun intended, is that happiness has overtaken the people in the poem. However, the happiness and appreciation of the world seems to be skewed from what is going on with the people. Looking closer at the women and men at the table, they all have drinks and the standing man is laughing and splashing around something. With this, one can gather that at this gathering, the people have gotten tipsy and this has contributed to their ecstatic thoughts of how the nature seems to be in tune with their feelings. The poem explains how all of the green nature, and singing birds, every component of the surroundings is complimenting how the party is going.
These three sets of poems are interconnected with how they all separately illustrate the importance of nature to Blake and how the pictures can help to the understanding of his poetry. Both “Little Boy Lost” and “Little Boy Found” tell one complete story and while the “Laughing Song” is not directly connected to the story of the little boy; it still accentuates the importance of the lack of nature in the previous two. The artistry around the poems, besides the main image with the emphasis on white, light, green, trees, and et cetera,  will usually depict spiraling vines and birds. Most of it cannot really add to the analysis of the writing since the patterns are essentially identical. Although, it does seem to further emphasize how important to Blake nature is in this set of poems. Much can be made from this as to the importance of the connection to words and images. Again to the introduction as the song the man piped and sang brought the angel to tears, however the written word was not even monitored. To connect images to the poetry gives it the bedtime story feel, innocence is highlighted.  

1 comment:

  1. It's dangerous to use a cliché as your title. Not a big deal, but what purpose is served? Your introduction also has little purpose - it's not that I disagree, but that it's fairly obvious stuff, at least within the context of the class. You want to move more quickly to the particulars of your own argument.

    Your point about tilting is basically good, although the trees aren't exactly straight in the second poem - you may be exaggerating your case a little. The important thing here is that you're showing the relationship between the boy's feelings and the (apparently) external environment. Your analysis of the imagery is pretty good, but I'd like to understand your overall argument (if any).

    If the laughing song is a little bit tongue in cheek, or displays a bit of a difference between the state of nature and the state of the people, what does that mean? Again, I think your analysis of the image itself is pretty good, but what are you doing with it?

    Your final paragraph seems almost incoherent, confirming my sense that you don't have a clear direction here even if your interest in Blake's portrayal of nature is well-defined. So if you revise, your first job is to really figure out what your arguement, and then to trim/expand appropriately.

    Are you arguing something about the ongoing relationship between the poetry itself and the pictures? I don't think so - in fact, detailed analysis of the poetry itself is slim here. Are you interested in how he portrays nature in relationship with people's mental states? Maybe so. So here's an initial question: is there consistently in how characters's mental states impact the way nature is visualized, or does it vary? And what does that consistency or variability mean?