Forgotmytea
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Well, I'm not sure if anyone else is doing Blake for their A2 exams, but I think I recall some are, so I thought we could discuss ideas and stuff here like mature (boring :p: ) students.

INNOCENCE

The Echoing Green
  • Idealised world
  • Guardians in the form of Old John, "Old John with white hair/Does laugh away care" and the mothers "round the laps of their mothers" - the children are innocent, and need protection.
  • The end is ominous, "darkening green". We learn to associate dark with evil in Blake, and so it seems that evil is even corrupting the Echoing Green(shorthanded to TEG because I'm lazy )
  • Personification in the first stanza, "to the bells cheerful sound" again idealises the world here.
  • Direct counterpart to London in Experience.
  • Children are compared to birds, "Like birds in their nest" - similar to The Schoolboy, emphasising innocence of children.


The Divine Image
  • Contrast to The Human Abstract, and A Divine Image. Though interestingly A Divine Image was left out of the final compilation....
  • Sheperd imagery in the first stanza, showing God as the shepherd; Pslam 23, "The Lord is my shepherd"
  • Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love are part of everyone - personifies these ideas, and shows how as they are God, and also in humans, we all have part of god in us.
  • "In heathen, turk or jew" - probably politically incorrect now, but still. Shows how Blake saw everyone as having part of God in them, no matter what their religion.


The Chimney-sweeper
  • Ironic - attacks the church for preaching the message at the end, "So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm"
  • Pathos for the characters, ""My father sold me while yet my tongue/Could scarce cry, "weep weep weep weep""
  • Tom Dacre is shown as innocent, "that curled like a lambs back" - shaving of his lamb-like hair shows how he is thrust forcefully into experience.
  • "Then naked and white" - in death the children are innocent again, like in the Garden of Eden, where when Adam and Eve were naked at first, but happy and innocent, so not ashamed.
  • "Then down a green plain leaping" - like TEG, moving into innocence.
  • "Coffins of black" - while these can be seen as traditional coffins, perhaps they could also be the chimneys where the children have died?? Or, as Alex Ramsay suggested, they could reflect on society at the time, and they are dependent on these 'coffins' (and the chimney-sweep-master people) for life. Nice idea! :cool:


The Little Boy Lost, and The Little Boy Found
  • Father figure abandons child, like in the Chimney-sweep
  • "And away the vapour flew". Controversial line here. It could be the hope of being found leaving, or perhaps a Will 'o' the Wisp leading the child astray, or the child's spirit leaving him as he dies. Which one? Maybe all three!
  • God "appeared like his father in white". Shows God as the boy's true father. Perhaps the boy is dead and in heaven, or is he still alive in the fen?
  • "Her little boy weeping sought" - mother cares for child, contrast to father.
  • "Led by the wandering light" - again, the will 'o' the wisp thing.


Night
  • Contrast to other ideas of night.
  • Usually night is nasty in Blake, where tigers, wolves, hyenas, dragons, etc. etc. eat lambs and generally scare people. However, in this poem night is shown as safe, as angels protect everyone.
  • "The birds are silent in their nest/And I must search for mine" - again, innocence connoted through the birds.
  • "every thoughtless nest" - these angels guard everyone.
  • "Pour sleep on their head/And sit down by their bed" - guarding the creatures from the nasty evil stuff that comes in the night.
  • "When wolves and tigers howl for prey/They pitying stand and weep/Seeking to drive their thirst away/And keep them from the sheep" - here even the wolves and tigers are being looked after. I suppose the angels take a large stock of frozen meat with their magical sleep-inducing drugs when they go out every night... :p:
  • The last 2 stanzas are the most interesting (well, as interresting as Blake can be).
  • The lion, symbollically evil, nasty, eats lambs, etc. is shown as caring.
  • Perhaps this is all in heaven??
  • "Shall flow with tears of gold" - pity, redemption, etc.
  • "And now beside thee, bleating lamb/I can lie down and sleep" - lamb and tiger are united in peace, and lion now guards the lamb (though what from?!)
  • "On he who bore thy name" - Jesus, religious ideas - makes it seem more likely that they are in heaven.


EXPERIENCE

London
  • Spoken in the first person.
  • Very scientific at the start. We know from Blake's painting of Newton that he despisd science for ruining nature (just google 'Blake' and 'Newton' and you'll find it )
  • Repetition of "chartered" makes the world seem very industrial, controlled - link to science.
  • "In every face I meet/Marks of weakness, marks of woe" - everyone is weak, destroyed.
  • "The mind-forged manacles I hear" - very important quote!! My teacher's even started applying this to The Winter's Tale too.... Image
  • THe manacles that hold these people down are in the mind, showing how they need to break free from being chained by society.
  • "Every blackening church appalls" - Church is literally black due to soot, but also spiritually black due to corruption and controlling orphans.
  • "How the youthful harlot's curse/Blasts the new-born infant's tear". Again, a key quote. The youthful harlot is young, showing how innocent children are thrust into experience too early. Similarly, the way she curses her child (as it means she can't work) shows how any feeling or innocence has been destroyed by society (the mind-forged manacles! ).


A poison tree
  • Shows how wrath can be controlled, "my wrath did end" or left to grow, "I told it not; my wrath did grow"
  • An idea here is that perhaps the narrator is God, his foe is humanity, and he deliberetly set the apple to force humanity out of the Garden of Eden and smite them.
  • Lots of references to Eden in here, even if you don't agree with the above point.


The Human Abstract
  • Oh. My least favourite poem, namely because I can't remember any quotes ever!!
  • Opposite to The Divine Image.
  • The first stanza denounces the ideas in TDI, ""And mercy no more could be" - shows them (MPPL) as feelings rather than ideals
  • "Caterpillar and the fly". According to the bible, the caterpillar is the lowest form of life, eating what the "cankerworm" doesn't want (don't ask me what a cankerworm is, I'm as in the dark as you are!). Here the caterpillars and flies are priests, feeding on the mystery of God - they talk about God, but use him to earn money and live in decadence.
  • "Fruit of deceit" - blah blah, Eden blah blah, etc. etc.
  • Final Stanza - this can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. Perhaps the tree is MPPL, showing them all as ephemeral ideas in the human brain? Or is it the poison tree, poisoning humanity and making them experienced? Perhaps it shows how humanity controls nature and destroys it?
  • The trees here are an opposite to those in TEG and the Little Black Boy, where they provide shelter - here they are dank, evil and dark.


The Tiger
  • Lots of questions, especially the ultimate one, "Did he who made the lamb make thee?" This is important, as it is comparing the two creatures and asking if the same God made these two opposites. Also asking if, "If a tiger is badm how bad is the thing that made it?"
  • Why would God create such an evil creature?
  • French revolutionaries were also called "tigers". Blake was a big fan of the revolution, and so perhaps this poem is about the revolution??
  • Burning imagery - hellish
  • "Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" - like the first stanza, but different in the one word, "dare". Much more ominous and powerful. :evil:


The Chimney-sweeper
  • Opposite of ... The Chimney-sweeper!! :p:
  • Again attacks church
  • Contrast between innocence and experience, "they clothe me in the clothes of death". Naked is innocent, and since they clothed him they are forcing him into experience.
  • "Who make up a heaven of our misery" - again attacks church as making themselves a heaven out of the misery of little boys.
  • "Taught me to sing the notes of woe" - normally a song is happy, but not here.
  • "gone up to church to pray" - parents want to save their own souls, but don't care about damning their child to a short life of misery.


Holy Thursday
  • "Is that trembling cry a song?" - contrast to song in Holy Thursday (Innocence), "Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song"
  • "It is a land of poverty!" - poverty forces these children into this
  • "And their ways are filled with thorns" - like in The Garden of Love, thorns bind and hurt people
  • "It is eternal winter there!" - kinda like Narnia :cool:. Winter is cold, evil, etc., so their lives are nasty.


The Garden of Love
  • Contrast to TEG
  • Here the green has been despoiled by the church.
  • "Where I used to play on the green" - church destroys innocence.
  • "Thou shalt not" - religious connotations, imperative. Menacing, commanding - shows how church controls people's lives.
  • "filled with graves" - death overtakes beauty due to the church
  • "And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds/And binding with briers my joys and desires" - mind-forged manacles, tying people up in torment. Black robes connote menace and evil.
  • Yeah, it's another attack on the church. :rolleyes:


Discuss guys, discuss!

-Saruman
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Chester
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Wow! You have done lots of poems we haven't.

I am not a blake fan, but I find "The Tyger" quite difficult so any help would be appreciated on that one!
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Forgotmytea
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Oh believe me, I'm not a fan either! I'll be glad when we move on from this topic....

Anyway, here's a few ideas on the tiger/tyger (Blake couldn't spell :p: ) as requested :

The Tyger
  • Lots of questions, especially the ultimate one, "Did he who made the lamb make thee?" This is important, as it is comparing the two creatures and asking if the same God made these two opposites. Also asking if, "If a tiger is bad, how bad is the thing that made it?"
  • Why would God create such an evil creature?
  • French revolutionaries were also called "tigers". Blake was a big fan of the revolution, and so perhaps this poem is about the revolution??
  • Burning imagery - hellish. This continues throughout the poem, interwined with the industrial imagery. This could be symbollic of Blake's feelings towards this new world - that industry destroys nature (in fire and flame?) and is leading humanity into a new hell.
  • "Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" - like the first stanza, but different in the one word, "dare". Much more ominous and powerful. :evil:
  • The question, "Did he who made the lamb make thee?" is especially important. Blake compares lions and lambs a lot, both realistically and symbollically. The lamb here has a capital letter too, maybe showing how it is a representation of Jesus, who is often associated with a lamb. Blake could also be showing how extremes are found in creation - the gentle lamb and the vicious tiger.
  • Alliteration in the first line, "Tiger, tiger, burning bright"
  • "In the forests of the night" - subversion of TEG again? Especially as it is night. Perhaps this shows, like the Garden of Love, how innocence is destroyed by experience.
  • "When the stars threw down their spears" - what could this mean? It has definite war connotations, perhaps showing the power of the tiger, that even heaven kneels before it's savegery. That's what I think, anyway


I hope this helps! Someone else must be doing Blake as well - please don't tell me I wrote that lot in the first post for nothing.....Image

-Saruman
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daveybaker
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Cheers Saruman, this is amazing. A gr8 help for my revision. Im not to good at Blake and need all the help i can get! lol! I scoured the internet for resources to aid my learning and you have helped out loads! thanx!

At school we have been through all of William Blakes Innocence and experience poems and i still find him ssssooooo boring. But hey anyones better than Christina Rossetti shes jsut really reall misreable and tedious.
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Chester
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(Original post by daveybaker)
At school we have been through all of William Blakes Innocence and experience poems and i still find him ssssooooo boring.
Haha, I couldnt agree more! Although he is growing on me!!

Saruman, that was brilliant, thank you so much!! I prefer poems such as London and Holy Thursday or basically the less abstract ones, as all the different meanings etc just confuse me!! :rolleyes:
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Eien
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I studied blake four years ago, although I am currently studying romantic poetry. One way to look at blake's poetry is within the romantic context, that is to consider the sublime (the boundaries of the intensity of human emotions and experience), considering the divine origins of nature (often in a christian context ). It would also encompass individualism and natural human perception as opposed to established views.
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Agrippina
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(Original post by Chester)
Wow! You have done lots of poems we haven't.
Blimey, didn't you do all of them?! At my school we had to do every single poem in intense detail and memorise a load of them too!!
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Chester
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Blimey, didn't you do all of them?! At my school we had to do every single poem in intense detail and memorise a load of them too!!
LOL! We are [unfortunately] having to do all of them, we just haven't done them in a term! Carrying on as from next Monday. JOY! :mad:
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Brotherhood
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I'm quite surprised that so many people are doing Blake at A2. We did it at AS. I dropped three marks on the whole paper, which I was rather proud of (The other part was 'A Streetcar Named Desire'). Personally I don't find poetry all that difficult because it's all about ideas and personal experience and drawing links, but if you haven't already I would suggest doing a biography on Blake and looking at his life because then you can tie things in with his poems. I found the York Notes quite helpful too. I might dig out some of my old notes and add to that list, and I probably have some essays lying around too.
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beach surf babe
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I'm doing Blake too. Was revising it earlier....is anyone doing the exam for it this month? We haven't covered them all. I don't think there's actually much point. As long as you cover a range of poems which are on the main topics he deals with (children, religion, society, states of the human soul) then I think it will be ok. You do have to know London really well though cos you can use it for all sorts of questions and its quite a major poem too! Its also fairly straightforward unlike 'The Human Abstract' and 'The Tyger' which are big headaches!!

These websites are quite good: http://www.newi.ac.uk/rdover/blake/songs_of.htm and
http://www.eriding.net/amoore/poetry/blake.htm#lamb
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girlgerms
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(Original post by Brotherhood)
I'm quite surprised that so many people are doing Blake at A2. We did it at AS. I dropped three marks on the whole paper, which I was rather proud of (The other part was 'A Streetcar Named Desire'). Personally I don't find poetry all that difficult because it's all about ideas and personal experience and drawing links, but if you haven't already I would suggest doing a biography on Blake and looking at his life because then you can tie things in with his poems. I found the York Notes quite helpful too. I might dig out some of my old notes and add to that list, and I probably have some essays lying around too.
Me too, except I only dropped two marks (my play was Death of a Salesman)

I'm not sure about your A05 marks, but they were really really minimal for AS, so I'd recommend checking with your teacher. With poems like London and the Tiger it is so easy to ramble on unnecessarily about the historical context (especially if, like me, you were studying the French Revolution and Britain at that time at the same time as Blake!)
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*Aimz*
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(Original post by Chester)
LOL! We are [unfortunately] having to do all of them, we just haven't done them in a term! Carrying on as from next Monday. JOY! :mad:
me too...the joy... :mad:

although they are growing on me..kind of


Thanks for all the help
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pheephee
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sorry for being thick but in your (Saruman's) anno of 'The Human Abstract' what does "(MPPL)" mean?

Thanks for your anno, they're going straight onto my text
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Forgotmytea
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(Original post by pheephee)
sorry for being thick but in your (Saruman's) anno of 'The Human Abstract' what does "(MPPL)" mean?

Thanks for your anno, they're going straight onto my text
Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love from The Divine Image. Sorry about that - I should have explained my abbreviations before......

Useful links courtesy of Beach surf babe - thanks!! Rep coming your way (a meagre 6 points) when I can
http://www.eriding.net/amoore/poetry/blake.htm#lamb
http://www.newi.ac.uk/rdover/blake/songs_of.htm

-Saruman
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Ariadne
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Being boring, but a point to add to the Innocence 'The Chimney Sweep' - 'locked up in coffins of black' is everything that Saruman said, but it is also ironic, as if they are dependant on these 'coffins' for life. Also, the coffins could be said to reflect on the cruelty of society at the time, as the children are forced by society to act as chimney sweeps It fits in with the last line of the poem 'if all do their duty they need never fear harm', as it sounds like a church teaching, but the church are doing nothing to stop the cruelty, nor are the general public (another interpretation of 'all').

Boring, but hey! Lol... guess who just finished writing up revision notes on that exact poem...
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Melana
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I'm doing Blake toooo!

Grrrr I'm finding it hard - well getting rubbish marks anyway

Thanks Saruman - rep for you! Tis a great help

Can anyone guide me in the way of 'Is Blake a Romantic poet?' - that's one aspect I really can't doooo! I don't know enough about Romanticism anyway, and would have no idea how to compare him to Wordsworth for example :s
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Forgotmytea
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Romanticism - well, 'tis not really a point I know much about, but I'll try:

  • The Romantic period was from about 1780 - 1830
  • Other Romantic poets include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats.
  • The main characteristics of Romanticism are:


    • Idealism
  • Celebration
  • Nature-worship
  • Fascination with mediaeval, supernatural, gothic, etc.
  • Carpe diem (Latin for "seize the day"), and celebration.
  • Valuing the senses, and rebelling against the established society and political structures.

    • Blake can definetly be seen as adhering to many of these ideas in many of his poems.
    • For example, in The Tyger, he rebels against established political ideas (if we read The Tyger as a revolutionary poem).
    • Similarly, he saw nature-worship as innocence, and the idea of nature being innocent is prominent in Innocence.
    • For example, in Laughing Song, "When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy"
    • Another characteristic of Romanticism is a desire for maximum freedom, which Blake was very keen on - he often describes people in Experience as trapped, "mind-forged manacles" "binding with briers my joys and desires", whereas in Innocence they are as free as a bird, "like birds in their nest" (TEG)


    I hope this helps in some way! If anyone else has any additional ideas to contribute, that'd be good - Blake and Romanticism is not one of my strongest topics....

    -Saruman
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    Melana
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    My god saruman, if I hadn't just given you rep, I'd give it you right now. Thank you!

    That does help lots, although can you (or anybody else) think of anything that shows the opposing view, that he isn't a romantic poet? I need to be able to argue both sides reaaaaally. Am I pushing my luck? I think so. Thanks again
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    beach surf babe
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    Well some of the other romantic poets of his time were a bit suspicious of him. His style is not really like that of other romantic poets. Its a bit more bleak and less flouncy!! We haven't really done anything about him being a romantic poet so I can't help a great deal. Have you got a copy of York Notes? Cos that'll have something in there...
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    Ariadne
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    From what I've been told, Blake counts as the 'father' of the Romantic poets, in that he inspired them, but he isn't really one himself - the poems are far too dark and deal with much too contraversial issues - look at 'London' or 'The Little Black Boy' and compare them to Wordsworth's 'Daffodils'. Blake is somewhere between the Classic and Romantic poets - the closest thing to him is probably Milton (which incidentally is what actually inspired Blake himself).
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