William Blake - Compare Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow

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William Blake’s “Infant Joy” and “Infant Sorrow” are poems about life. They show the growth in relationship between a child and his/her parents from different perspectives. Even by the names of each poem, we can anticipate that they will have subject matter, regarding a child, but stark contrasts in style and structure. To begin with, I can say that “Infant Joy” has a very simple structure and style, emphasizing on the theme of happiness and freedom, while “Infant Sorrow” has a more complex and dissonant style, using language, which reflects the opposite theme of struggle and discomfort. However, I feel that the main theme of both the poems is individualism. It is interesting how both of Blake’s poems are talking about the same event – the infancy phase of journey called life, but both the poems describe it in their own personal style. This is what I mean by individualism. I think that it is the unique and intriguing way these poems depict the same event but present contrasting ideas. I like these poems, as the delivery of their message is so powerful that, it makes you think and wonder which is correct. I feel like the theme of freedom is presented in Infant Joy in the beginning lines of the poem, when the child picks his own name – Joy. However in infant sorrow, the child is describes as being “helpless” and “striving against my swaddling bands”. The very image this description creates makes us see the child “bound and weary” which enhances the sinster mood in the poem. The harsh language in “Infant sorrow” is incongruent with that in “Infant Joy”. The monosyllabic words and frequent use of repetition create a very childlike and innocent atmosphere, “Pretty joy! or Sweet Joy but two days old.” However, in “Infant Sorrow”, Blake has made use of rhyming couplets much more often, but in this case they do not help to ease the tension created in the poem. This is a good example of individualism. It is clearly seen how the structure of these individual poems help...
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