Monday, September 15, 2014


In Songs of Innocence and Experience, William Blake uses a range of colors and illustrations to supplement his poetry in a manner which directly aids the meaning and depth of the works he presents.  Blake explores the innocence of childhood and the inevitable the loss of innocence through various methods of presentation in his poetry.  He also explores the human condition in different manners through an ideal condition and through the actual nature of man manifested in humanity’s current condition of political struggle and strife.  Examples of these themes can be seen in the coupling of two poems, seen in the case of “The Lamb” found in Songs of Innocence and “The Tyger” found in Songs of Experience, or creating two images for one poem and using distinctly different imagery and colors in each, such as “The Ecchoing Green”, to help express a duality between the natures of the innocent (young) and the experienced (old).
            In the two image (6-7) poem, “The Ecchoing Green”, the use of color and children’s reactions from image 6 to image 7 helps convey a certain critique about life between young and old. The children in their present status are incapable of seeing the world through the perspective of an adult, but rather have this creative freedom and maintain a state of purity.
The beginning of poem captures this essence of youth by describing an ideal summer day in which cheerful sounds and games indicate the careless free-spirited nature of kids.  Being watched over by the elders, they reminisce about their own sports and games on the ecchoing green but the advancement of night brings the constant reminder that their number of days dedicated to youthful expression are limited.  As you follow the outstretched arm of the elder directing the children, you can see the background hues shift from light blue and lilac, to a dark encroaching black. The children are all facing this dark
            Many of the poems found within The Songs of Innocence appeared to have an opposite partner poem found in The Songs of Experience.  “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” appear to be just one set of these inverse poems, holding distinctly different meanings on man, using the symbol of the lamb as a religious expression and the tiger as one of industry and development.  In “The Lamb” a shepherd tends to his lambs under intertwined vines, which does well to frame the shot by having two distinctly different colored skies on either side of the vine.  The vines are seen to protect the shepherd from the dark blue and violet portion of the sky. The portion of surrounding the shepherd is a much lighter blue as if the shepherd is under God’s good graces, while he recites his pastoral expression to the lambs about their creation under his divine oversight. The colors of the lambs themselves are a simple cream color with little detail to separate them out from each other. 
Conversely, in “The Tyger” the image of the tiger is rich with unique detail and surrounded with a radiant crimson hue, to accompany the poems repetitive dialogue of,
“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
 In the forests of the night”.

Even under the darkness of night, the tiger burns bright like the glow of a furnace which accompanies the hammer, chain and anvil.  The tiger represents the industrious and primal nature of man and the real world, and is used to make a contrasting statement against the lamb. The texts, when looked at together, ask the question if it was the same hand which created the innocence lamb and the primal tiger. “The Tyger” asks: "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”, and the text seems to agree that it was the same hand capable of creating such contrasting entities. 


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  2. This essay presents some interesting ideas, but similar to the discussion in class it suffers from trying to do too much. I like the ideas presented, however I feel you should narrow your focus. Focus solely on the themes presented in the coupling of poems, or those themes present in the "Ecchoing Green." Develop these ideas and dig deeper. Rather than trying to explore multiple overarching concepts in the poems, explore that idea isolated to one or two specific poems.

  3. As Kyle says, there's too much going on here. You are working with both halves of the book instead of one, and you spend more time describing the poems than analyzing them. Finally, too much of what's here is an overly easy analysis of the way that "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are paired.

    That doesn't mean there's nothing worthwhile here. In fact, I thought your analysis of the role of color in all three poems was an excellent start. It's just that there's so little of it - most of your energy is expended on unnecessary material which doesn't really contribute to your argument. Your best moment, strangely, actually stops mid-sentence. The children are all facing the dark, yes. But why? What's your interpretation of that? Ideally, that might have been the lead-in to the next several paragraphs on the Echoing Green. Some of the material on the other two poems was fine - but you stopped with the Echoing Green just as it was getting good. In the future, focus more on developing yoru argument, and less on trying to cover a lot of ground.