Blake’s poetry is very much tied to the paintings it is a part of. Color therefore can be used very freely to illustrate the poems. It is also used in the poems themselves, however, and is a major symbol in a lot of the poetry Blake writes. In The Chimney Sweeper, Blake comments “the soot cannot spoil your white hair.” He then uses the color white again when he describes angels as “naked & white” in a later line. The color white is a common image throughout the first section. Blake seems to see white as a pure and untouched color – the color of innocence. In The Little Boy Found, Blake uses white again. This color is a constant symbol of heavenly bodies and innocent children throughout the first half. I am curious to see if white is as widely used when the poems are no longer about innocence, in the second half of the book.
As I was reading Blake's poetry I noticed many themes that kept reappearing. For example, he frequently mentioned the lamb. This is interesting because the lamb is a common symbol of innocence in regards to the common theme of the lion and the lamb, where the lamb is a calm, gentle, and rather weak animal. Many of Blake's poems include religious references so perhaps the lamb is also in referring to the Lamb of God. Either way, the symbol conveys the idea of innocence throughout the poems. Also, throughout the poems children are the most frequent subjects. This makes sense because children are often thought to have a very naive view of the world; I am wondering if the second half will focus more on adults, or if it will focus on children as they grow up. I noticed that many of the poems read a little bit like nursery rhymes. The flow of the poems and the particular rhyming patterns just reminded me of what a parent may read to a child before bed. I wonder if the poems in Songs of Experience will be set up differently with different (or less) rhyming patterns.
The Songs of Innocence were a set of poems that seemed to have an overall voice of ignorant bliss. The imagery around it had a constant theme of plant life and sunlight with the focus of attention usually on younger people. It seems like these are a very happy way to look at life and to fully get the message Blake is trying to send, one would need to read The Songs of Experience. Given the names, one would expect that Blake is trying to draw a divide between innocence and experience. The Songs of Experience should most likely be a darker set of poems than the latter.
In the second half of Storyteller, I noticed a larger focus on animals and nature. Almost every story or poem had a connection to hunting and/or Mother Nature, talking about sheep, bears, deer, corn and weather, drought and starvation. For example, in the story, “The Man to Send Rain Clouds,” an old man was found dead under the cottonwood tree. They were worried he would be thirsty in his grave because they did not give him holy water at the funeral. Everyone was happy once the sprinkling of the holy water was finished because now the old man could send rain clouds. I can only assume this is because there is earlier mention of a drought and starvation due to a lack of growing crops. There’s also the Laguna Fest that comes up several times, where Navajos can dine at any Laguna home, whether they are friends or not. I find Silko’s readings hard to interpret, so I’m interested to see why these themes were heavily used and the meanings behind them.
In Songs of Innocence and of Experience, it seems as though Blake is comparing the two viewpoints on a number of themes. We see this in his repetition of similar poems and themes in both portions. In Songs of Innocence, we get to glimpse the child-like, idyllic version of the world. This can be seen in the Nurse’s Song, a title first seen in the Innocence portion and then almost parodied in the Experience section. In Innocence, the children come in from a day of playing and beg their nurse to return outside and play a bit longer. She consents and the children rush to continue their innocent frolicking. The poem of the same name in the Experience section focuses on the Nurse’s viewpoint, or that of experience. She bitterly calls the children in, discontent with the responsibilities of her own life and resentful of the children’s carefree attitudes. The repetition of this scenario juxtaposes those who are untouched by pressures of the world and those who have lived out in the world. By showing both viewpoints on the same themes, Blake was successful in portraying the disillusionment people experience as they mature.
Animals, either wild or domesticated, are present in every story in Storyteller. They play an enormous part of Native Americans' lives as their livelihood depends largely on herding and hunting. The way Native Americans view the animals and nature vastly differs from the rest of us. Native Americans respect, fear and worship animals to a certain extend. Throughout Storyteller, nearly all of the stories have human face tragic endings when encountering animals. For example, the story of a little girl committing suicide before her clothes become butterflies, who woman killed by her husband along with all the buffaloman, Kochininako from the Kunideeyah Clan who brings death and destruction, and a small child turned into half bear after following bears into their caves (My book is on the kindle so I cannot cite the exact pages). These are the stories storytellers, namely the elderly, tell little kids in the Native American community. The children stories in the popular culture do not involve so much death, especially directly or indirectly caused by animals and nature. As a result, from a very young age, Native American children are taught to respect animals and nature. The introduction poem of Songs of Innocence, Blake identifies himself as the piper who is asked first to play the song, then to sing the song and lastly to write it. With each step the spirit of the song is less pure as the piper's involvement grows. The songs are of course his book: the Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Songs of Innocence by William Blake is a compilation of illustrated poems. A vast majority of the poems seemed to be about children. It starts off with a poem of a child asking for a song about a Lamb. The following poem is about a shepherd and his lambs. There is also a poem titled “The Lamb” later on, which could also be the poem the child asks for. Since this poem uses the spelling “Lamb” like the original poem, this one is more likely the poem the boy asked for. I think I heard somewhere that the spelling “Lamb” is used a reference to Jesus as opposed to an actual lamb, but I could be wrong.
The first image in Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience is a combined title page, which portrays two individuals. One is lying on the ground while the other is hovering over her while protecting his head. The background of this image contains swirls of red, orange, yellow, and a dark blue. The blue is so dark in color that it appears to be a smoke or even a shadow. This color is weaved throughout the title page with the orange and the black, which gives the impression that the two individuals are engulfed in flames. From this, the reader can draw the conclusion that the two people are suffering in Hell. If all humans are born innocent and can maintain that innocence to an extent throughout their life, how did these two individuals end up here? Does the experience of life truly pollute and destroy the innocence that the individual once had and leave them to an eternity in hell? It is nearly impossible to go through life without experiencing something that the Bible designates as sin. Based on this alone, all individuals would end up in Hell. On the other hand, the decisions based off of impulses that people have are what makes them human. Ultimately, is an afterlife of pain and suffering appropriate for the human way of life or is it just an over exaggerated consequence mentioned in the Bible?
Blake's Songs of Innocence is a compilation of poems revolving around the obvious idea of innocence. However, I think the most fascinating part is the idea of innocence having immense power in the world. For example, in the Nurse's Song the children do not want to stop playing and go inside. This childish ambition not only manages to persuade their mother, but also changes nature to allow them more time. If the situation had been with older, more experienced individuals they may have known the dangers of nightfall causing them to lose valuable moments of their lives. I think Blake is trying to make an interesting point that the innocence in young people allows them to make important changes to the world, whom those with experience cannot make.
the poems in Blake's songs of Innocence share a lot of themes. Children, nature and plant life, and God and the divine are all reoccurring themes in the poems themselves as well as the illustrations that accompany them. They are all pretty happy and, well, innocent. Even the poem about the chimney sweeps takes on a happier tone as the one child dreamed they all went to heaven. One thing I found interesting was the pair of poems The Little Boy Lost and The Little Boy found. These two poems seem to be a single narrative split into two. There are plenty of other poems that are longer and take up two illustrations instead of one such as The Echoing Green and A Cradle Song so I have to wonder why this one is split.
Songs of Innocence has a religious direction of telling the story. The introduction talks about the piper using different forms of communication to make the child happy. He uses music, singing, and writing to amuse the child. Church masses also use music and singing to portray stories. The sadder poems were told as if there was a lesson to be learned. An example is when the child became lost. He fell behind when his father walked too fast. This shows how he depended on the parent. Guidance is what the child needed and the child didn’t know what to do without it. The pictures also depict this in how the parent and child are positioned. The child is near the parent and looking up towards them. Some images show them in a way that they need care of the adult. I thought it was strange to have “A Dream” at the end. It is hard to understand what the author is trying to portray. It goes away from the theme and talks about ants and beetles. There might be a deeper reason to adding it into the book.
In the final parts of Storyteller, I particularly liked the story on page 205, titled “A Geronimo Story”. This story was interesting to me because it gave a glimpse into the life of Indian trackers that helped US forces track Geronimo. Although, in this story it seemed like they were not interested at all in tracking Geronimo and were quite content taking payments for there services after they found nothing. There is one passage where Siteye responds to his nephew’s question, about how Geronimo always gets away from them, by saying that he likes to think that they are the ones who get away. I believe this confirms my idea that the Indians were more than willing to take money from the white men but had no intentions of finding Geronimo. In the last few pages of the story, the Lagunas go to the camp found by the Major and Siteye says it was only a Mexican sheep camp, but I believe they came very close to Geronimo in that story. The way the author goes into detail about how he never saw Siteye take so long to roll a cigarette, and how he looked when he mounted his horse. I think they came very close to Geronimo and Siteye was thinking how lucky they were for not going there the night before. Did anyone else think that about how the story ended and how the scouts used the white men for there money?
After I read the Songs of Innocence and Experience, I cannot stop thinking about growth. Innocent child grow up to experiential adult. In the Children's world, there is only black or white. Such a simple way to identify bad or good. After children go to school and engaged in the social activities, they will gradually realized they live in such a complicated --- black is not black, white is not white. The cost of growth is we cannot use the most simple way to look the world anymore. In the Songs of Innocence, there are two poems "the little boy lost" and " the little boy found". These two poems are short and simple. In the first poem the boy lost in the dark night and he cannot find his father; in the second poem the god showed up and kissed his mother and him just like what his father did. In the Songs of experience, there is also a "the little boy lost". This is a much more sorrowful story, the priest heard the question asked by the little boy about his father. He believed the little boy is a fiend, and burned the little boy in a holy places. It is the difference between innocence and experience, the changing of growth. The author made the whole book showed in two extremely point --- dark and light. It is a book to make me thinking about what I lost for these years.
The use of night as the lack of innocence is a bit too stereotypical in the Songs of Innocence. Several poems such as “Nurse’s Song” and “The Ecchoing Green” use the night as the end of innocence for the day. Such as “the sun does descend and our sports have to end” (pg 7). Blake uses “have to end” making it seem as if there is no choice in the matter. Children and innocence cannot flourish or exist during the night. There is an emphasis on the sun shining as a way of protecting children and all the naivety they hold. Night also holds stars though, and as we discussed in class, stars can often represent the future and be seen as a positive form of foreshadowing. Blake does not even acknowledge the brightness that can be found in the darkness. He embraces the theme that night can only mean the end to innocence and purity. It seems as a pretty black-and-white way to look at the world and the meaning of innocence. As I was reading, it seems to me as if Blake’s writing and his themes are meant to fit into a mold that is very common and overused. Maybe this has something to do with the overt religious foundation? I’m not quite sure, but I would like to know other opinions on the matter.
Blake's Songs of Innocence centers around the theme of children and focus of whimsical activity. Many of the poems have to do with the aspects of nature such as The Echoing Green. The details of the poem are expressed with the innocent wonder of a child, such as the description of the sun and sounds of the larks. There are also several poems that have to do with fear of abandonment, such as the Chimney Sweeper, where the voice of the poem no longer has parents and looks to God for hope. The innocence that is evident in these poems show that Blake probably felt his youth was very important. I am interested to see how the Songs of Experience change the mood of the book. Is it possible to see if any particular events shaped the tone of his work?
Color and illustration are two powerful components of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. In the two image (6-7) poem, “The Ecchoing Green”, the use of color from midday on 6, to dusk on image 7 may play off of the duality about life between young and old. The beginning of poem captures the 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 upon 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.
Blake emphasizes that his words and illustrations support or contrast each other to make a power statement in his poems, Songs of Innocence. He does this by showing how children are ignorant and pure, using specific colors or images to go along with each poem. Through the hidden political views and ideas of the church, Songs of Innocence naturally flows into the dark, cynical views in Songs of Experience.