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Essay on William Blake's poems; image is innocence


writersblock401 1 / -  
Feb 12, 2012   #1
Hi Everyone!
So I have a AP Lit Paper due tomorrow (yea, I have been procrastinating quite a bit) and I am having a little bit of trouble.

The prompt is: "Trace a single image that recurs throughout many of William Blake's Songs of Innoncence & Experience, analyzing the variety of ways that Blake manipulates the image in order to communicate the primary themes and ideas found in the Songs.

The image I chose was childhood/innocence. My writing tends to be very weak and vague, and I've been trying to strengthen my skills. I have all but 2 sources in my paper at the moment. I would really appreciate if any of you could give me some ideas on how to make my essay strong as in word usage and such. My introduction and conclusion are my weakest points.

My essay so far:

-----By utilizing repetitive imagery throughout many of his poems from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Blake creates different images of childhood to represent the underlying innocence everyone starts off with, how people are better off with God, and the flaws in a society. Blake writes many of these poems from the point of view of a child, or about a child, to draw more sympathy from the reader and create a better understanding of the complete naivety felt by these children in their youth. Repetitive imagery is what makes this ostensible, as Blake makes these three points by incorporating an image or characteristic of child-like naivety into many of his poems, bringing the reader's attention back to his main point of society's corruption, and how it destroys innocence and child-like wonder.

-----Blake exaggerates how the flawed and failing society can be the cause of taking away the initial happiness and wonder that people are born with. Both of Blake's poems titled, Holy Thursday, provide a look at how the society is ignorant about the children who are suffering and away from freedom. The version from Songs of Innocence describes the children as being cheerful and optimistic. They are portrayed as behaving well, as they are on their way to church on a holy day. They are dressed up nicely "red and blue and green," so readers don't imagine that the children are actually poor and homeless. The children seem happy, especially because they are seated with "radiance," which can be perceived that they are glowing with joy. All of the children start to sing and it is described as 'harmonious' and this also adds to the optimism of the poem. In reality, however, these children are suffering, which is portrayed by version from Songs of Experience, where the children are "reduc'd to misery," which explains how they were forced to do labor, away from freedom, losing their innocence. Because these children are obliged to work instead enjoying their childhood, they have no choice but to become adults at such a young age. These kinds of formalities, and adults imposing societies rules on children, are what steals the innocence from children, as according to Robert F. Gleckner, in the "state of innocence there is, or ought to be, no discipline, no regimentation, no marching, no uniforms, and no guardians-merely free, uninhibited, irresponsible, thoughtless play," (536). Blake suggests with these images of childlike joy that society is corrupted, and would be better off without all the strict rules and regulations, as children are always happier and more carefree in their world without rules.

-----By using children in most of his poems, or as the speaker in his poems, he creates the image of innocence and naivety in youth through their musings and experiences. One of his most straightforward poems, "Infant Joy," from Songs of Innocence, most obviously exemplifies this use of child-like imagery with a newborn, "but two days old," who, because of naivety and innocent sense of happiness, feels immense joy with life. Blake writes, "'I happy am, Joy is my name,' Sweet joy befall thee!" demonstrating the joy in freedom and not having any social restraints. Childhood is a time of no worries, and it is once those worries arrive that life becomes more stressful for children.

-----Many of Blake's poems are about a child being abandoned and helped in some way by God, and therefore having a better, more fulfilling life. In "The Chimney Sweeper" Blake makes a similar point through the young chimney sweeps. Immediately establishing that, "my mother died when I was very young, and my father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely cry, 'weep!'..." draws sympathy from the reader and points out the uselessness of the child's parents. After the child speaking gives the reader a good idea of the bleak life he lives, it is apparent that what gives him his happiness and hope if the belief that someday God will rid him of all his hardships and worries, and he will be saved. He believed that an "Angel who had a bright key," would come along and have "open'd the coffins & set them free; Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run, and wash in a river and shine in the sun;" In this poem it seems that Blake is making a statement, that it does not matter if God is really there to help or not, but just having something to believe in is enough to keep people happy.

-----These collections of poems from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are Blake's way of expressing his views of what is important in life. For one to remain at his happiest state, he has to stay youthful and innocent, something society makes impossible. Using these symbols of children to make these points Blake pulls at the emotions of his audience, while making them face the harsh reality that they are what has caused hardships in children's lives.

The paper must be four-five pages long, and its only at three at the moment. The introduction and conclusion are still in the process of being developed and my second and third paragraph both need one more souce, which are secondary sources that my teacher provided. I would like to thank everyone ahead of time, and I greatly appreciate your thoughts. THANKS!
akbabu88 - / 1  
Mar 7, 2012   #2
By utilizing repetitive imagery throughout many of his poems from " Songs of Innocence"to" Songs of Experience" , Blake creates different images of childhood to represent the underlying innocence everyone starts off with, how people are better off with God, and the inherent flaws in a society. Blake writesindites many of these poems from the point of view of a child, or about a child, to draw more sympathy from the reader and create a better understanding of the complete naivety felt by these children in their youth. Repetitive imagery is what makes this ostensible, as Blake makes these three points by incorporating an image or characteristic of child-like naivety into many of his poemscompositions , bringing the reader's attention back to his main point of society's corruption, and how it destroys innocence and child-like wonder.

Blake exaggerates how the flawed and failing society can be the cause of taking away the initial happiness and wonder that people are born with. Both of Blake's his poems titled , name both the poems provide a look at how the society is ignorant about the children who are suffering and away fromare devoid of freedom. The version from " Songs of Innocence" describes the children as being cheerful and optimistic. They are portrayed as behaving well, as they are on their way to church on a holy day. They are dressed up nicely "red and blue and green," so readers don't imagine that the children are actually poor and homeless. The children seem happy, especially because they are seated with "radiance," which can be perceived that they are glowing with joy. All of the childrenthey start to sing and it is described as 'harmonious' and this also adds to the optimism of the poem. In reality, however, these children are suffering, which is portrayed by version from " Songs of Experience" , where the children are "reduc'd to misery," which explains how they were forced to do labor, away from freedom, losing their innocence. Because these children are obliged to work instead enjoying their childhood, they have no choice but to become adults at such a young age. These kindskind of formalities, and adults imposing societies rules on children, are what steals the innocence from children, as according to Robert F. Gleckner, in the "state of innocence there is, or ought to be, no discipline, no regimentation, no marching, no uniforms, and no guardians-merely free, uninhibited, irresponsible, thoughtless play," (536). Blake suggests with these images of childlike joy that the society is corrupted, and would be better off without all the strict rules and regulations, as children are always happier and more carefree in their world without rules.

By using children as the protragonist in most of his poems, or as the speaker in his poems, he creates the image of innocence and naivety in youth through their musings and experiences. One of his most straightforward poems, "Infant Joy," from Songs of Innocence, most obviously exemplifies this use of child-like imagery with a newborn, "but two days old," who, because of naivety and innocent sense of happiness, feels immense joy with life. Blake writes, "'I happy am, Joy is my name,' Sweet joy befall thee!" demonstrating the joy in freedom and not having any social restraints. Childhood is a time of no worries, and it is once that thesethose worries arrive that life becomes more stressful for children.

-----Many of Blake's poems are about a child being abandoned and helped in some way by God, and therefore having a better, more fulfilling life. In "The Chimney Sweeper" Blake makes a similar point through the young chimney sweeps. Immediately establishing that, "my mother died when I was very young, and my father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely cry, 'weep!'..." draws sympathy from the reader and points out the uselessnessapathy of the child's parents. After the child speaking gives the reader a good idea of the bleak life he lives, it is apparent that what gives him his happiness and hope ifis the belief that someday God will rid him of all his hardships and worries, and he will be saved. He believed that an "Angel who had a bright key," would come along and have "open'd the coffins & set them free; Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run, and wash in a river and shine in the sun;" In this poem it seems that Blake is making a statement, that it does not matter if God is really there to help or not, but just having something to believe in is enough to keep people happy.

-----These collections of poems from " Songs of Innocence" and " Songs of Experience" are Blake's way of expressing his views ofon what is important in life. For one to remain at in his happiest state, he has to stay youthful and innocent, something that society makes impossible. Using these symbols of children to make thesehis points Blake pulls at the emotions of his audience, while making them face the harsh reality that they are what has caused hardships in children's lives.


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