Thursday, November 15, 2012

poetry: on songs of innocence and experience

After reading William Blake's "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" from his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, identify which poem is from Innocence and which is from Experience. Write a paragraph about each. First, briefly (approx. 2-3 sentences) summarize what the poem is about. Then, analyze what specific elements of each makes it a song of innocence or experience. How does Blake communicate (a tone of) innocence or experience? What point is he making about his subject?

You may NOT use a blog pass for this assignment.

This is due no later than 10am on Friday, November 16.


  1. “The Lamb” by William Blake writes about an innocent little lamb. The speaker talks about the blessings of the lamb “give thee clothing of delight, softest clothing wooly bright; gave thee a tender voice…” The speaker begins with asking the lamb if it knows where it came from, then he finishes by answering the question by saying something along the lines: God created you and me.

    “The Tyger” by William Blake writes about a ferocious beast burning bright. The speaker talks about the fear he had when the “tyger” approached even to the point of not being able to move, “what dread hand? & what dread feet?” It’s not so much what the tiger is doing that strikes but what the tiger is. This goes along with the theme of experience, the experienced life of a tiger that commands respects and instills fear.

    “The Lamb” is a song about innocence. The whole poem is generally happy and a “safe” pleasant read. He connects the point of God being a lamb. At first the speaker starts with praises for the lamb “Gave thee life & bid thee feed. By the steam & o’er the mead”, then he gives credit to God for the lambs creation and “For he calls himself a lamb: he is meek & mild, he became a little child: I a child & thou a lamb, we are called by his name.” The speaker finds a common ground with the lamb and is able to connect with this animal on a deep level.

    “The Tyger” is a song of experience. The speaker equates this tiger as being on the same level, if not better, than heavenly beings and bodies. “What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry?” “When the stars threw down their spears and water’d heaven with their tears”. There is definitely a more negative connotation of fear and respect. The speaker says the tiger has deadly terrors suggesting this creature is dangerous. Finally, the poem is topped with cutting irony. In “The Lame” the speaker praises God for the lamb’s creation. In “The Tyger”, the speaker is asking very ironically if the same God who created such a beautiful lamb also created this ghastly beast as well.

    The point of “The Lamb” is that: the lamb is beautiful. God created you, and He called himself a lamb and child. You are a lamb and I am a child, so we are connected on a spiritual level created by the same awesome God.

    The point of “The Tyger” is that: Can someone make something so dangerous and daunting? Could the same God that created the lamb have created the tiger?

    The biggest difference between the two poems is that “The Lamb” offers a QUESTION and ANSWER with hope, love, and peace. While, “The Tyger” offers a QUESTION with NO ANSWER and leaves the reader with hopelessness, wonder, and depressed.

  2. "The Lamb". This poem is obvious from Innocence. It is about a beautiful lamb and the lamb's innocence. The speaker connects the lamb with The Lamb (Jesus). It is light and upbeat. Blake uses several devices to make this an obvious poem from Innocence. Most obviously he uses a simple AB rhyme scheme and a moving beat to make the feel of this poem light and airy. He repeats "Little Lamb" over and over again which reemphasizes the innocence of the small little animal. The poem is laid out as someone telling the Lamb about himself and about the special connection he shares with Jesus. This unique point of few even further shows us the Lamb's innocence
    by acting as if the Lamb is even unaware of himself and his own situation. Someone has to explain it to him. Blake makes sure the entire poem feels like a wiser person gently describing to the Lamb who made him. in the poem blake portrays the innocence of the Lamb and the reason why the Lamb is such a good picture of Christ. But it is a closed portrayal. Reading this poem you might think that nothing is wrong with the world, that God's creation is all Heaven-like all the time. Blake does this to set us up for the next poem.

    Tyger is a poem describing the most fearsome of God's creations. It describes the different aspects of the fearsome tiger and asks how God could make the innocent lamb and the terrible Tiger. The main literary device utilized in the Tyger is the rhetorical question. The entire poem is made up of them. Rather then the speaker explaining to an innocent Lamb, the speaker in this poem asks the tyger fearful questions as if in awe. He also makes more liberal use of similes and metaphors such as "the fire of thine eyes". The Rhetorical questions continue as Blake gets to the point of the poem. By asking "Did he who made the lamb make you?" Blake is questioning whether or not the same God that could have made the sweet innocent lamb is also capable of the terror of the Tyger and whether or not that capability compromises the innocence of the Lamb. While the poem about the Lamb makes it seem as if all that exists is this idealized fairy land of peace, the Tyger looks into the real world, sees the terror and brutality that exist, and begins to question the God capable of creating that terror.

  3. William Blake's "The Lamb" is the embodiment of innocence. This poem tells of a little lamb who is being told of the great Creator who formed and made him.The poem has a nursery rhyme feel to it, as if one would tell this lullaby to a child before he drifts to sleep.
    Blake communicates this feeling of innocence through the literary devices in this poem, such as Shakespearean English, a simplistic and elementary rhyme scheme, and with Biblical allusions to a peaceful and loving Son of God. Blake has a narrator speaking to the lamb, and has him constantly repeating "thee". This classical word gives the poem a sound of a classic children's story. This feeling is strengthened through the simplistic and child-like ease of an A, A, B, B rhyme scheme. This rhyme scheme lulls the reader into a peaceful pattern of rhyme, much like the peace that washes over those in the presence of the innocent. Finally, Blake pulls the ultimate card of innocence: the card of the Lamb of God. As the narrator speaks to the lamb throughout the poem, he asks the lamb if he is aware of who formed him. Finally, the narrator writes that the man who "calls himself a Lamb" made him. This Biblical allusion ties in a little lamb to the perfect portrayal of sacrifice and guiltlessness: Jesus Christ. By using these literary devices, Blake gives the readers a sense of peace, as well as furthering the message of Christ to the public.

    In juxtaposition to the innocence of "The Lamb", Blake writes "The Tyger" in his collection of poetry on Experience. This poem ponders on the untamable strength and ferocity found within the killing-machine known as the tiger, and wonders how a peaceable God could ever allow this cruelty into the world.Throughout the poem, three main literary devices are used: rhetorical questions, symbolism, and Biblical allusions.
    The poem opens in the third and fourth line by stating, "What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry?" This rhetorical question, which can be found littered throughout this poem, has a mocking and cruel tone rather than one of genuine interest. This question comes from a person who has experienced all of the evils of life and its cruelty (symbolized through the ferocious tiger)and mocks at the idea that a loving God could allow such things. This attitude is further seen in stanza 5, where Blake writes, "Did he (God) smile his work to see?" This statement further sounds like an outraged accusation at the idea that God would smile upon and approve such evil as the tiger.It has a sarcastic air to it. Directly after that statement in stanza 5 is a Biblical allusion again to Christ, as can be found in "The Lamb". In this allusion, however, the tone is greatly different. Blake writes, "Did he who made the Lamb (Christ) make thee?" This allusion to Christ is symbolic of the good and innocence in the world. As Blake makes this statement, after he has experienced and seen the evil in the world, he wonders how a God who was willing to send his Son to earth is approving and even creating the terrorizing beasts such as the lion. This poem by Blake comes from a man who has experienced and seen the worst the world can offer, and sarcastically asks how a benevolent Being can allow such madness.

  4. “The Lamb”, by William Blake, is from his Songs of Innocence. It starts off with a child asking questions to a little lamb. He asks how the lamb came into being, how feeds, how it got its “clothing” of wool, and its “tender voice”. In the next stanza, the speaker answers his own question: the lamb was made by one who “calls himself a Lamb,” one who resembles both the child and the lamb in its innocence and/or gentleness. Here, he is referring to God and how he made the two innocent and pure life forms.

    “The Tyger” is from Experience. It begins with the speaker asking a fearsome tiger what kind of all powerful being could have created it. “What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame they fearful symmetry?” Each stanza has further questions, which all pretty much refer to this first one. The speaker wonders how, once that horrible heart “began to beat” its creator would have had the courage to do the job. Comparing the creator to a blacksmith, he thinks about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have required and the smith who could have wielded them. The speaker also wonders how the creator would have felt about his completed project. “Did he smile his work to see?” and if the same being who made the lamb made this beast.

  5. First of all, The lamb by William Blake is the one of innocence. Go figure! The tone of the poem adds to this assumption--calmness--tender. Anyways, the first thing that jumps out at me is the use of allusion or, rather, biblical allusion. This is especially evident where the in the poem it is stated: "Little Lamb God bless thee." This is in specific reference to Christ "The Lamb of God" the great sacrifice. This device really encompasses the work as a whole and dovetails the poetic purpose into a direct tender tone. What a pleasant rhyme scheme I might add! The use of such a cliche playful theme is to support the intrinsic playful nature of the lamb. Don't you just picture a lamb hoping up and down in a green field--I do!

    Tyger! Tyger! This sounds super innocent--just kidding! The Tyger, from The Song of Experience, by William Blake, is the one that is the one of experience. I don't know where I get that idea from yet, nevertheless, the poem emits a sense of maturity and experience--something I know so much about, right?

    The Tyger offers a stark contrast to The Lamb. Not only in the fact that the Lamb would be dinner for the Tyger but, moreover, the juxtaposition between the two poems. Experience is portrayed in the poem through the use of intense metal imagery: "fire of thine eyes." , "On what wings dare he spire?" With experience to a certain extent comes with anguish and disparity. Thinking requires using your brain sometimes and sometimes it's painful to use it. Sorry for the cliche adage Miss. J.

  6. “The Lamb”- Innocence
    This poem is about a little lamb that doesn’t have a care in the world. The Lamb doesn’t know who made him, and quite frankly doesn’t care. The speaker of the poem is informing the lamb of this information.
    The thing that makes this poem a poem of innocence is the choice of diction. The poet uses words like “delight”, “bright” and “rejoice” to convey a positive tone. Blake uses a child-like style of rhyme scheme to show that the Lamb is an innocent little soul. The point that the poet is trying to make is that people and the lamb are ignorant of their beginning.
    “The Tyger”- Experience
    This poem is about an old wise tiger that has experience in fighting through life to achieve victory. The stars have surrendered to him and the sky cries when it sees him. These actions are clearly out of a sign of respect for and fear of the tiger. They are scared for his attack.
    The main thing that signaled me that this is a poem of experience is the allusion to a blacksmith in the third stanza. The “hammer”, “chain, furnace and “anvil” all refer to things that blacksmiths working with. In order to be a blacksmith, one has to have a great deal of experience in working with metal. Blacksmiths have to know how hot to heat metal in order to make it pliable. This knowledge only comes with experience. The tone of this poem is more negative than that of the tone used in “The Lamb”.

  7. First of all "The Lamb" is the poem by William Blake that illustrates innocence. In the first stanza, a child asks a lamb rhetorical questions knowing that it can't respond about where it came from and about its physical characteristics. The second stanza continues to answer the questions that the speaker previously asked saying that the lamb was created by a God who is also a lamb. There is biblical allusion throughout the entire poem and is mostly seen when the speaker compares Jesus Christ to the lamb in that he is humble and the perfect sacrifice. Blake gets his tone across in his song of innocence in his use of words like "tender", "meek", and "little". This is an obvious reference to humility and being soft like a lamb. Despite his description of a humble lamb, Blake does not give the lamb a description of being ignorant of anything. The point Blake is trying to get across is that even though lambs are soft and portrayed as weak, they are not because the savior of the world, Jesus, was a lamb.

    So obviously "The Tyger" is from Blake's song of experience. This poem is more of a description of the tyger. In it Blake illustrates the tyger as a terrifying and ruthless creature that can take the life of someone in a heartbeat. His experience is shown in the poem by his confidence as a killer contrasting the lamb. Fire is a recurring symbol in the poem further showing the ferocity of the tyger. Blake's purpose is to show that even though God is the creator of the lamb, He is also the creator of the tyger, the lamb's predator.

  8. The Lamb is about a lamb, and the author is talking to the lamb, and asking the lamb if it knew who made it. The speaker tells the sheep that God has made him (him is the sheep) and that God calls Himself a Lamb as well.

    The Lamb is from The Songs of Innocence, for the tone of the song is innocent, for the speaker talks to the lamb in an adult to child manner. The speaker is asking the lamb if it knows who made it, but not in a way of which one who asks a question so that he/she may learn the answer to their question, but rather to tell the lamb the answer of who made it. The speaker asks the question on behalf of the lamb, showing the lamb's innocence of not knowing about itself, and of how the speaker is doing things on behalf of the lamb, much like that of an adult doing things for a small child. The Lamb is from the Songs of Innocence, for it describes the song describes the lamb with delicate features, such as, "...softest clothing wooly bright..." to, "...a tender voice..." Along with the description of the lamb, the innocent ignorance of the lamb not knowing its Creator is innocent as well, such as a child not knowing many things.

    The Tyger is about the speaker asking who made the tyger (tiger) and asking the tiger how it was made. The speaker asks the tiger if God who created the lamb created it as well, for the tiger is not innocent like the lamb, and the speaker is confused about why God would create something that is the opposite of the lamb in innocence.

    The Tyger is from The Songs of Experience, for the speaker talks to the tiger with a tone of experience, in which unlike the lamb which didn't know how it came to be what it was or who made it, the speaker is asking the tiger who made it, and how it was made. The speaker is asking the tiger these things, for the speaker believes that the tiger know the answers to these questions. Unlike in The Lamb in which the speaker knew who made the lamb and was more asking the question of who made the lamb on behalf of the lamb's sake so that the lamb could learn who made it, the speaker is asking the tiger who made it, and how it was made. The speaker changed roles in both poems, for the speaker went from the experienced in The Lamb telling the lamb about who made it (it being the lamb), to being the innocent in The Tyger, asking the tiger who made it, and how it was made, so that he may learn. This shows that the speaker is not experienced, but more rather the tiger is experienced, for it knows about itself. The Tyger is from The Songs of Experience, for the tiger is knowledgeable, unlike the lamb, and the tiger knows about itself, causing it to be the experienced one between itself and the speaker. The tiger is described with non-delicate features unlike that of the lamb, such as the tiger has, "...fearful symmetry..." and, "...immortal hand or eye..."

  9. The poem "The Lamb" by William Blake is obviously a poem about innocence. The poem starts with a small lamb so young and naive some one is explaining its very existence to it. The speaker also happens to be a child. In the second stanza the speaker is talking about Jesus, saying the lambs maker also goes by the name lamb. The maker is meek and became a child. The same way Jesus took human form and became a child on earth. The poem itself flows and reads very simply and child like. It also uses a simple rhyme scheme to convey a child like simpleness. The tone is amplified by words like "meek" and "little" like the innocent lamb and innocent blood of Jesus.

    The poem "The Tyger" on the opposite end of innocence is experience and knowledge. The lamb being compared to the Lamb of God is in question. The speaker is wondering id this creature of death and heart ache could have been made by the same creator that made that innocent little lamb. In the second through the fourth stanzas the speaker is asking what kind of man would could ever make such creature, and if he is happy with the thing that he created. This seems to be spoken by a someone who has felt the pain of the world, symbolized by this tiger, and wants someone to answer for the pain he has endured.

  10. The Lamb

    "The Lamb" by William Blake is one of his poems of innocence. The poem begins by rhetorically asking “who made you” to the lamb. The lamb is then described. In the nest stanza, the lamb is told that he was made by God. The subject the Lamb in itself portrays innocence. Its youthful state and commonly white color adds background information of a lamb that one can associate with innocence. Words that describe peaceful things that the poem addresses such as stream, wooly, tender, and child give the
    poem a pure and innocent feel. The allusion to God blessing the lamb also shows that the lamb is pure because God is often associated with blessing the pure in heart and righteous. Blake could also be referring to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

    "The Tyger"

    "The Tyger" by William Blake demonstrates one of Blake's poems on
    experience. The tiger in the story is totally different from the lamb. This poem begins by asking who could capture or defeat the tiger, assuming that no one could. The tiger is then described basically as unbeatable. This poem refers to the Lamb, associating that they both were made by God. In stark contrast to "The Lamb", "The Tyger" uses harsh words such as fearful, burnt, sinews, and chain. These words portray the tiger as one who has lived a life and has been hardened. He has been exposed to the harshness of the world and now is feared by many. In this poem, repetition of "Tyger,Tyger" and a common rhyme scheme cause the poem to feel more eerie and rhythmical such as a tiger's pacing or heartbeat before he pounces.

  11. The poem "The Lamb" by William Blake is obviously the one about innocence. The poem is about someone talking to the lamb and asking it if it knows who made it. The speaker then procceeds to tell the lamb that Jesus made it. Blake really emphasizes the lambs innocence in a few different ways. First he parallels the innocence of a child with that of a lamb. He also refers to the lamb as little lamb. By doing this he points out that the lamb is small and innocent and that like a child, is innocent. He also talks about the lambs tender voice, which only something innocent would have. Blake uses a child as the speaker to add a whole other aspect of innocence to the poem, the tone. He is making the point that the subject is innocent.

    Now having eliminated the other poem from the equation, The Tyger must be the poem about experience. He describes the tyger as experienced by making it out to be ferocious, which it is, and describing it as one if Gods greatest creations because of its beauty and might. Blake also makes it seem experienced by refering to it as immortal. We see this in the beggining amd the end of the poem. He communicates a tone of experience by making the speaker question what force can take the tyger into chains or subdue him, he writes with a questioning tone. Blake is making ponts about his subject, which is the tyger by making him sounfld experienced, ferocious, and strong.

  12. "The Lamb", a poem by William Blake, is a poem that talks of innocents and the naivety of a child, or "lamb".The child's existence is being explained to him. The speaker is explaining all of the blessings that have been given to the child by the other Lamb, Jesus. Jesus is "meek and mild", he was put in a vulnerable position as a human on earth. This is why the child can rejoice for all of the blessings he has been given. The structure and tone of the poem is very simple and easy to understand, much like the life and thoughts of a child. There are simple words and easy-to-understand explanations that have been brought down to the level of a child so that the child in the poem can understand.

    The other poem by William Blake, "The Tyger" is a poem of experience. The poem basically explains that the tiger, so hardened by the experiences of his life, cannot be influenced by mere physical pains or emotional symbols. He is unchangeable, great in that he has conquered life and become a rough and callous shell of the predator that he his. Things fear him in his age because of his experience and hardened heart. The tone of the poem is hard and direct. It uses strong words such as "fire", "dread grasp", and "chain" to show the strengths of the old tiger. It uses repetition and rhythm to transfer the feelings and sound of a strong tiger, waiting to attack. It gives the poem a darker and more cynical feel.

  13. The Lamb is written about the innocent little lamb, which, when one thinks of a lamb, they often think of an innocent animal. "I a child..." tells that the speaker has a connection to the lamb, in that he is an innocent child like the innocent animal. It also has some Biblical allusions because the Bible speaks of lambs quite frequently. We are the creation of Jesus who is our shepherd. He compares Himself to a lamb as well. The lamb is soft and has a tender voice, like that of an innocent child. It has a much more happy tone.

    The Tyger is the complete opposite. When one thinks of a tiger (in this case the tyger?) they think of a fierce animal, one with training, aka EXPERIENCE. He isn't innocent at all! He prowls the forests at night. The "fearful symmetry" makes it this ferocious beast. But it also questions if God created this animal too, and why would He do that when he has the innocent Lamb? He makes this poem have a much darker tone as he describes the feared tyger.

  14. the Tyger poem is the poem about experience and the lamb poem is about innocence.
    the tyger poem is about experience as it uses deeper and harsher words to explain its point. it talks about sinews of a heart and how its artful. The poem also mentions chains and a hammer things that lean more towards experience than innocence. Blake talks about the hammer and the anvil something someone would only know how to use with experience if the person was ignorant towards the use of either of the tools they would probably hurt themselves.

    The lamb poem deals with innocence rather than experience. lambs are symbols of innocence so it is a good image that Blake uses in his poem. Blake talks bout how the lamb does not know how to feed itself. Blake refers to the Lamb as a child and continuously calls it "little Lamb". In the last lines of the poem Blake says"little lamb God bless thee" This follows Blakes precedent of referring to God as a savior in his poems of innocence.

  15. Obviously, the lamb is of innocence, and the tyger is of experience. The Tyger poem is mainly about the mystery of the tiger. It repeatedly uses rhetorical questions to question the origins of the tiger. Phrases like, "What burnt the fire of your eyes?" continuously serve to make the reader YOUNGER and LESS EXPERIENCED than the tiger. In addition, the poet compliments this mystery through rhetorical question with a sort of mysticism of diction. The poet uses words like, "sinews", "anvil", and "immortal" to fully drive home the theme of mysticism.

    The innocent lamb poetry reverses the idea of the tiger poetry. Instead of making the Lamb seem so much older and mystifying than the reader, The poet that wrote "the lamb" questions THE LAMB as though the questioner knows the answers. The speaker continuously says things like, "Dost thou know who made thee?" This is sort of condescending. The reader is filled with a feeling that this young an innocent lamb is also ignorant. It sort of sounds like Jesus: "Don`t you know who I am?" This starkly contrasts the eager and honest rhetorical questions directed at the tiger. "Who are you, really?"

  16. Sorry this is so late. I was supposed to do it Friday during study hall like we talked about, but it completely slipped my mind. Sorry. Better late than never I guess? :)

    Between these two poems, the lamb is obviously the innocent one. This is clear because of a few reasons. First, the poet says " thee feed." This shows that the lamb is clearly young and innocent because he is still being fed. Second, the lamb is portrayed having "softest clothing wooly bright." This emphasizes how the lamb is innocent and hasn't been through anything where he could get dirty or matted yet. It is through these things that the reader can infer that this little lamb is a symbol of innocence.

    On the contrary, the tiger is the experienced one. This is apparent because, first of all, he is portrayed as sly and deadly. These things don't just happen. These traits only come with experience. Also, the poet writes "what immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry?" This is portraying how strong and experienced he is, because not even the immortal could harm him. This is how the reader can tell that he is the experienced one.

  17. Sorry this is so late! :) Service is hard to come by where I'm staying.

    In Blake's poem, "The Lamb", he so clearly illustrates innocence in the "little lamb". He uses soft-spoken diction to convey that sense of innocence. The lamb has such a "tender voice" and is so "delightful" and "bright". He hasn't lived a full life yet. The lamb is so young it hasn't even had the chance to mess up his "softest clothing wooly bright". The reader can gather that the lamb very obviously conveys innocence. Blake writes as if someone is questioning the innocent lamb. "Dost thou know who made thee..." He questions as if he already knows the answer.

    Blake's poem, "The Tyger", contrasts the lamb in many ways. The tiger is experienced and fearless. The tiger is portrayed with incredible power. The terrifying tiger has been around a long time, and this time the questioner doesn't know every answer. He genuinely wonders what "immortal hand or eye" could have created such a "fearful symmetry". The tiger has been through all of the struggles of life and the physical world can't hurt him any longer. He is the epitome of experience and his artful design confuses the questioner.