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Innocence In William Blake's The Little Black Boy

Decent Essays
Innocence is for those with inexperienced minds. This naiveté causes one to become easily manipulated or prone to misunderstandings. However, innocence is not synonymous with ignorance. Although one is innocent, he or she can be aware of their unfortunate circumstances and consider positive viewpoints to their situation. Unfortunately, excessive optimism can become problematic since it leads to one accepting their horrific conditions and neglecting to consider other possibilities. This blinding optimism is an issue in William Blake’s short poem “The Little Black Boy” which focuses on a young boy’s perspective as he deals with race and his social position in the South. In the poem, the young boy accepts his inferior social position due to his innocence and external and internal beliefs instilled in him.
The racial dichotomy between white and black in the poem contributes to the young boy accepting his position in the world as a slave. In the first stanza, the young boy acknowledges his blackness but believes his soul is white. “My mother bore me in the southern wild,/ And I am black, but O! my soul is white;/ White as an angel is the English child:/ But I am black as if bereav'd of light” (1-4). While the first stanza describes the young black boy and his location, it also clearly indicates what the young man lacks—whiteness and being from a European city. The first few lines associate whiteness with purity, whereas blackness is associated with darkness and dehumanization.
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