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Deprivation through Christian Religion in William Blake The Garden of Love

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Introduction

English Composition Clara Favre Deprivation through Christian Religion in William Blake ?The Garden of Love? In ?The Garden of Love?, William Blake claims the fall of human being from innocence to experience. In William Blake?s poetry, innocence (Song?s of innocence) is synonymous with purity, childhood and nature whereas experience (Song?s of experience) is synonymous with adulthood, mankind?s work and the notion of good and evil. Indeed, childhood is the time of innocence while adulthood is strongly connoted by a dualistic system such as religion. In Blake?s poetry, Christian religion is Manichean as there is a constant struggle between good and evil. In ?The Garden of Love?, the poetic persona is nostalgic of his childhood when he was connected to an infinite nature and where everything seemed possible. Nevertheless, this place has changed and has been replaced by an austere ?chapel?. The joyful and light milieu becomes enclosed, claustrophobic and morbid. This implicates a tension between past and present, desires and restrictions. Consequently, in ?the Garden of Love? religion is negatively connoted. Blake uses the image of the edenic fall from innocence to knowledge in order to demonstrate the actual fall of Religion into austerity. ...read more.

Middle

The enclosed language can be seen as a metaphor of Blake?s critic of Christian religion?s close-minded morality that denies sexual desires. The words ?gates?, ?shut?, and ?door? exemplify closure. Therefore, the author might infer that Christian religion is close-minded. On the contrary, nature, the ?green? is an open space that suggests freedom and open-minded prospects. Therefore, there is a tension between restriction and freedom. The poetic persona has grown and realises the reality of religion?s restrictions. Nonetheless, when the I-speaker says: ? So I turn?d to the Garden of Love? (II, 7), he might be nostalgic of his childhood. This explicates that there is an attempt to come back to the past as he wants to be free. In the Garden of Love, there are flowers. He is trying to go back to the Garden ?that so many sweet flowers bore? (II, 8). The ?flowers? can be seen as a metaphor of sexual desires. The loss of innocence and childhood occurs with the consciousness of desires. The word ?deflower? is implied. This idea of innocence?s loss appears in the Genesis; Adam and Eve realise that they are man and woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

Christianity derivates human being of joy and desire and tries to replaces them by strict rules and monotone routines. Nevertheless, William Blake does not accept austere religion?s ethics. He accuses religion to empty life from his sensible substance. Life is in nature and in desire; hence, they cannot be replaced by unsubstantial rules. In fact, Blake highlights life before death. In conclusion, William Blake?s ?The Garden of Love? is a critic of Christianity that curtails freedom and prohibits desire. He uses the metaphor of the edenic fall from innocence to experience to highlight the fall of religion into austerity. The child?s fall from innocence to reality implicates a struggle between past and present. Religion is close-minded while the poetic persona is open to life and happiness. The I-speaker admires the beauty and lightness of the flowers; however, religion transfers them into darkness and sin. Sexual desires, nature and the world of the sense are drawn sins. Therefore, there is a tension between personal feelings and religion?s morals. The darkness of the last stanza captures William Blake?s idea of religion as an institution that deprives human being from freedom. Indeed, he states that happiness is not life after death but life before death. ?The Garden of Love? acknowledges that Blake might have an animist conception of religion. ...read more.

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