Closer Reading on William Blake's "Tyger"

Topics: The Tyger, The Lamb, Poetic form Pages: 1 (538 words) Published: October 7, 2014
Yi Wu
Emily Leithauser
ENG 205W
Close Reading 01
10.02.2014
The “Tiger” Within Us
“Tyger” by William Blake is a highly symbolic lyric poem. When I saw the title for the first time, I immediately drew a equal sign in my mind between tiger and viciousness. Surprisingly, Blake portraits a different image of a tiger and relates this particular tiger to a rather positive and powerful figure. Apostrophe is used throughout the poem. All the questions Blake addresses to the tiger were just like a giant wave that overwhelmed me when I was reading. By count, there are fourteen question marks in the poem. One question after another marches toward the reader like a troop and gradually builds up the passionate and admiring tone. These questions are not standing there and waiting for answers, though they certainly emphasize the content and tempt the readers to reflect on the answers. Instead, they keep pushing the poem forward to its climax, and definitely support the portrait of this formidable tiger. Besides the use of questioning, imagery also contributes a great deal to complete the figure of the tiger. At the beginning of the poem,“tiger” is capitalized, accompanying by the exclamatory mark, to let the figure of the tiger stand out. Then the poet uses simile to compare tiger with blaze to demonstrate the vigorous quality of this tiger. In the second quatrain, the tiger appears like a mighty soldier, who has these radiating eyes to see, these wings to fly, and these invulnerable hands to fight. Following this powerful character that has been established, the third quatrain continues on building the figure of the tiger. Blake reflects how tough the heart of the tiger is through emphasizing the strength of the creator’s hands. Similarly, in the next quatrain, “hammer”, “chain”, and “furnace” all embody the impenetrability of the tiger’s brain. At this point, an audacious and unyielding tiger is born. In the fifth quatrain, Blake switches the tone color to a less...
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