William Blake

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Discuss William Blake’s visual and textual imagery as it relates to childhood in a selection of companion poems from the Songs of innocence and Experience.

The pictures, borders and colours surrounding Blake’s poetry suggest a lot to us as readers. If we are to fully receive the meaning and message in his writings we must closely examine the entire contents of the page; words, punctuation and also the visual imagery because “To read a Blake poem without illustration is to miss something”.(Byrne, Sharon) The poems I will be discussing stand side by side, like ying and yang they are interdependent of each other to see both sides of the human soul. All four poems ‘The Lamb’, ‘The Tyger’, ‘Infant joy’ and ‘Infant Sorrow’ hold a spectacular written element along with a visual component that ultimately are inseparable and interact to create a fuller meaning.

In ‘The Lamb’ the simple childlike language is surrounded by simple images. The child speaker in this poem asks the lamb does he know who made it? Firstly the idea of a child talking to an animal and asking such a simple yet timeless and deep question is believable and apt in this song of innocence. In the first stanza the innocent speaker treads on a deep profound question that is complex and intricate to answer. The child then attempts to answer this question in the second stanza. The highly symbolic religious images of the lamb and also the creator exist in this poem. It is through repetition that Blake emphasises these. This highlights the sense of wonder or awe the child has for religion. The repetition used and also the end rhyme creates an excited tone and makes the poem sound very song-like. The word choice in this poem reflects the colours and images used in the illumination. Words used such as ‘tender’, ‘meek’ and ‘mild’ are calm and gentle. The colours used are also not harsh rather they are pastoral and soft and these along with shading help to create a very earthy and natural image. Blake also...
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