A Case Study of One Student’s Approach to Reading The Divine Image

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A Case Study of One Student’s Approach to Reading The Divine Image


When Marielle, an English 2 student, was given a series of critical thinking tasks, her first response to the poem, “The Divine Image,” by William Blake changed as she followed the direction of each task and built on her previous understanding of the poem. I describe her responses to the eight learning paper tasks and her dissection of the poem for hidden meanings.

The Tasks and Various Interpretations
For each learning paper, Marielle was given eight different ways to interpret
“The Divine Image,” by William Blake. Learning paper 1 asked her to read the poem out loud, write down any ideas that came to mind, then write a summary of what the
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For learning paper 2, she had to reread the poem, then detect and define key words that made a strong impact on her. What Marielle did was define some of the words she felt were strong -- Mercy, Pity, Love and Peace. She then reread the poem and was asked to reinterpret it. After she identified key words, she felt that “this poem is trying to reinforce the importance of being kind to others and treating them as God would. Mercy, Pity Peace and Love are being reinforced as necessary human qualities.” She looked up the literal meanings of the key words, wrote them down, and added comments next to the definitions. After defining and commenting on these key words, her opinion differed.

I am able now to see the correlation between the title the “Divine Image” and the song itself. The divine image is expressed in its human form through the actions and feelings of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love. The Divine Image is referring to God, humans can be Godlike by performing these four feelings and actions.

She now felt that humans were considered Divine only if they use Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love. In the beginning, though, she felt that one had to treat others with the same respect like God and that the characteristics were simply important for humans. Even though her opinion changed, she didn’t use the dictionary’s literal meanings to write a translation of the poem, rather she constructed her version of the poem with the words of the

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