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How do the introductions to Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Earth(TM)s Answer and The Shepherd work as an introduction to Blake(TM)s style and concerns?

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Introduction

How do the introductions to Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Earth's Answer and The Shepherd work as an introduction to Blake's style and concerns? It must first be noted that there is a stark contrast between the songs of innocence and of experience. The Songs of Innocence convey a childish, innocent and sweet nature, with word choices to suit this mood, whereas the Songs of Experience represent the experience of age, and the imagery and language used is far more hellish than heavenly. A direct comparison to show this is 'The Lamb' in contrast to 'The Tiger'. The Lamb is written with childish repetition. The Tiger is hard-featured in comparison to The Lamb, in respect to word choice and representation. The Tiger is a poem in which the author makes many inquiries. Ultimately, the question at hand is 'Could the same creator have made both the tiger and the lamb?' This is a theme that echoes throughout Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. The Songs of Experience contain much darker subject matters, and the introductions to both songs of innocence and experience show the difference clearly. The Introduction to the Songs of Innocence relates directly to the period of romanticism. ...read more.

Middle

Moreover, in the last two lines, 'He is watchful while they are in peace' implies that they are peaceful because he is watching over them, and the last line of the poem, 'For they know their shepherd is nigh' infers that the shepherd is not always there. In other words, the sheep need the knowledge of the shepherd's existence and of him watching over them in order to be happy. This could perhaps be connected with the notion of God, and could be seen as a critique of those who are religious to be slightly na�ve towards the notion of an existing God, or that they cannot find happiness unless they believe that a God is there. This introduces the theme of religious repression, something that Blake often demonstrates dislike of within his poems. Bloom, a critic, states that 'The Shepherd inspires a confidence in his flock which is entirely dependant on his actual presence.' This reiterates this idea of Blake's mocking of God's meaning to people and of blind obedience amongst the masses. We see in this poem, underlying traces of doubt and more meaningful, sinister ideas, showing the slight transgression throughout the Songs of Innocence, moving towards the Songs of Experience. ...read more.

Conclusion

This provides a slight link with the Songs of Innocence. The poem ends by concluding that religion oppresses our natural instincts and that we should break free from this. 'Break this heavy chain, that does freeze my bones around.' The word freeze here clearly shows the oppression demonstrated, and provides a contrast to nature and the 'budding' and 'blossoming' that can be found in the Songs of Innocence. This poem essentially echoes ideas found in The Shepherd, yet on a much more intense level. The poem is almost a plea to all to break free from this repression. The language used is strong, 'Selfish! Vain! Eternal Bane!' The Shepherd and Earth's Answer link closely, as do the introductions to both Songs of Innocence and Experience, and in all poems we see Blake's obsession with nature, the transition between the innocent and the experienced and the relationship between God or religion and the people. We see how he carefully selects the structures of his poems to echo the ideas entailed within and the careful word choices to emphasise both innocence and experience. The poems provide an introduction to Blake's styles and concerns by gradually breaking into his main ideas and themes, and they show us that his works are greatly coincided. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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