There Seems To Be Little To Distinguish The Songs Of Innocence And The Songs Of Experience. Discuss With Reference To Content, Style, Form And Poetic Technique

1737 words - 7 pages

Blake's songs of innocence and experience are written differently to emphasise the differences in what we find appealing at different ages. The Songs of Innocence are written in a way, which could be compared with nursery rhymes for their style and rhythm. This is shown differently in the Songs of Experience, which seem much more appealing for an older audience giving more focus on the content. In this way, the Songs of Innocence are much more similar to the Songs of Experience but our focus is taken away from the content and put more into the way in which it would be read. In this way, they abandon the cheery form by which the Innocence poems are written (regardless of their content) and ...view middle of the document...

The image portrayed is that of a child who does not love anyone more than he loves himself. A priest punishes him, although due to the nature of the punishment, we are led to sympathise for the "lost" boy. The "lost" children Blake writes about are lost in a different way to those in Songs of Innocence. In "The Little Girl Lost," the feeling of being lost is shown in a little girl's parent's dream. As a paternal instinct they have dreamt about their child, Lyca, only 7 years old being alone and lost in a desert surrounded by lions and tigers who "play" around her and then induce "ruby tears." This is almost a nightmare for parents, and it is not obvious at first who is seeing this image, Lyca or her parents, until "The Little Girl Found." Their finding their child meant she was no longer lost and that she is safe with them.Despite the musical appeal of the Songs of Innocence, they are written in a much more sombre tone at times, which is accentuated when mixed with the style in which it has been written (as opposed to the Songs of Experience, not in the form of a nursery-rhyme). Due to this way of writing the poems, they could be either read or sung to small children, which is often the only innocent element of the poem. For instance, "The Chimney Sweeper,"'s tale is of woe and anguish, yet the style provokes a happier image. He explains that the reason why he is black is due to the sweeping of chimneys and the reason for him to be in this job is because his father sold him at a very young age after his mother died. This is no tale of happiness and innocence. However, his innocence is displayed quite clearly when his friend has a dream about God rescuing them from their dark days, as long as they "grin and bear it" until they meet Him. Their willingness to put faith in God shows they have no one else to turn to. Therefore the boy's narrative style and the nursery-rhyme style in which it is written are the only elements of innocence as his naivety is so clear.In most of the poems in Songs of Innocence and Experience, Blake seems to blame adults and religion for the loss of children's innocence. In "The Chimney Sweeper" (Experience) for instance, the child knows why he's unhappy and it's due to his parents forcing him to learn the sins introduced by religion."They [his parents] clothed me in the clothes of death And taught me to sing the notes of woe." His innocence is lost by the recognition of religion's sins and that his learning them was not of his own will. His strength to be able to evaluate the situation in such a manner shows that his experience has taught him why it happens. It is also noticeable that the repetition of "weep! weep!," also used in Innocence, is followed by "in notes of woe!" In the Innocence version, he does not explain why he was weeping, and perhaps does not know why. In the Experience version, it is explained because it shows that he is experienced in feeling woe and therefore knows why it happens.It is clear that Blake...

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