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    I don't know about anyone else, but I find 'The Human Abstract' on of the Songs of Innocence/Experience's most difficult poems. Sooo, I thought I'd start a thread and get a few ideas about what it's about/how you'd use it in an essay.

    Here's a few of my notes to start off:

    The poem is about how the authorities have perverted the notions of pity, peace, humility and mercy to their own ends. Blake describes the growth of a system based of values based on fear, repression and stagnation. He emphasises its unnaturalness, e.g. the tree is watered with tears.

    Cruelty is personified, and its activity as it 'knits a snare' tells us that our passive society is threatened because of its energy.

    Blake accuses the church of creating a system based on fear, because Cruelty 'sits down with holy fears'. There are obvious illusions to the Fall with the fruit: 'ruddy and sweet to eat'. Thus we are tempted and succumb to the lies of the values created by the church.

    Anyway, there's plenty more to the poem - what does the raven represent; why are the roots of the tree 'Humility'; who are the caterpillar and the fly.... Also, what kind of contextual info could you put in?

    So, your ideas would be interesting to hear. If anyone has good (!) notes on The Human Abstract they'd like to share PM me; I've got notes on other Songs that I could swap 'em for

    Thank you
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Updated: June 10, 2005
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