How does Blake present childhood and the natural world?
Blake viewed the natural world as an energising force for good, linking it often with children through the value of play, natural instincts and life forces along with the idea that ‘energy is eternal delight.’ Nurse’s Song [I] and [E], ‘The Ecchoing Green’ and ‘The Garden of Love’ exemplify Blake’s love for childhood intertwining with nature. In these poems Blake shows how authority intrudes with this Arcadian tone as the Utopia is corrupted with the influence of the church and other powers. Blake, under the reign of George III, saw oppression at authority as there were more than “200 offences that were punishable by death” Blake opted to take the voice from the hegemony and support the weak and marginalised victims of society. In ‘The Ecchoing Green’ and ‘The Garden of Love’ Blake presents childhood and the natural world as a force for good which is ruined by authority. ‘The Ecchoing Green’ is a poem where literally children stop playing sports to rest at the end of the day. Blake conveys an idyllic setting through the use of simplistic rhyme scheme which gives the effect of a nursery rhyme emphasising the focus on children. This theme is continued with a choice of basic monosyllabic words. The overall tone of the poem is happy through sounds such as “bells ring” and positive imagery with “welcome the Spring.” This Arcadian setting is furthered through Blake’s illuminations, depicting adults as a nurturing, maternal figure. Normally Blake conveys white as a negative image however he chooses to use it differently to represent a purer, innocent setting through the clothing of the children and their overall positioning in a natural, open setting. Although this optimism alters in the second half of the poem as the adult voice of the poem says “the sun does descend” contrasting to the start of the poem. The elongated words at the end of the final verse “weary” “merry” “descend” contrast the shorter lexis at...
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