William Blake 's Poetry : Relationship Between Innocence And Experience

1078 Words Mar 5th, 2015 5 Pages
Michelle Kasperski
James Harr
British Literature II
March 5th, 2015
Title
William Blake explores in-depth the relationship between innocence and experience in his work, Songs of Innocence and Experience and the resulting tension between these two contrasting states. Blake demonstrates those in a state of innocence are oblivious of that state, ignorant of any other state of consciousness. However, those aware of innocence cannot honestly envision it because their perceptions of reality have been colored by experience, which will stain their depictions of innocence as well. The subtitle underlining the title of Blake’s collection clearly illustrates this purpose and intention when writing Songs: “Shewing the two contrary states of the human soul.” The "two contrary states" are innocence, a purity not yet repressed by industry or oppressive morality, and experience, a soul’s recognition of difficult realities such as injustice and corruption. Blake’s works are a reaction to what he felt was the withering of traditional values in the late 18th century, an attempt to release society from its ‘mind-forg’d manacles’, cuffed by the decrees of a tyrannical church and government. Blake found his society wanting, calling for the freedom of creativity and self-expression. Among his responses, Songs is also a merciless criticism of the enlightenment, an age manifested by industry and subjugation.
Both books open with an introduction, which allows Blake to set the tone of each series…
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