Sophie Bibb 27.1.06
BLAKE COURSEWORK ESSAY
William Blake was born in London on November 28th 1757. As a youngster he was a loner, and did not tend to mix with other children. The Bible was an early and profound influence on Blake, and would remain a crucial source of inspiration throughout his life.He was an eccentric, and his personality and thoughts were reflected in his poetry, they were complex and were composed full of hidden depths and unfathromable layers. He was a strong religious person, and believed passionately in God, but he was not fond of the way religion was being dealt with in his time.
Blake, like Wordsworth and Coleridge, was writing poetry during the Romantic Movement, a time at the beginning of the 19th century, when humanity and society as a whole were in crisis. Many people were caught up in scientific facts, rule following, patterns and working things out, and were lacking their sense of individualism and imagination.
Therefore, at the beginning of the 19th century there was a desperate attempt to try and move away from the “suffocating” way of life that was taking over. Writers would exaggerate human emotions, in an attempt to rekindle an imaginative and emotinal response in the reader. Gothic and Horror novels were created durnig this period. The entire emphasis was now replaced with imagination being of great importance.
It was during this period that Blake wrote his famous poems, The Songs of Experience and The Songs of Innocence. He wanted to show the two very different, contrary sides of the human soul. He was a strong believer that opposing forces, such as strength and weakness, good and evil, are in the heart and soul of every individual.
Many of his “Songs of Innocence” poems are in total contrast to his “Songs of Experience” poems. “Songs of Experience” deals with harsh realities that life and the world brings, whereas “Songs of Innocence” paints a brighter, lighter and untainted picture of the world full of innocence, the world that only children and lambs experience. Blake was keen to show the differences between these two sides, but also manages to show that they are not just two simple states, and that both innocence and experience are part of the human soul, and that both are needed to complete each other.
The Echoing Green is a typical Innocence poem. Its happy images and cheery vibe are all typical of the “Songs of Innocence”. The regular rythmic patterns and simple vocabulary is like a nursery rhyme, very childlike, which suggests that it is an innocence poem. The fact that the poem has three stanzas, all of the same length, adds to the nursery rhyme theme and presents childhood.The regualar patterns reinforce the picture that Blake is trying to portray and the smooth rhymes indicate smooth life and yet again more innocence factors. As soon as we read the title, The Echoing Green, the “echoing” suggests lots of shouting and a place full of life, and this is continued into the first two lines of the poem. We are almost certain that it is an innocence one, by it’s positive outlook,- “the sun does arise, and make happy the skies”. The word “sun” shows warmth and comfort, and happy images, such as fine weather and nature add to the perfect and innocent portrait that is so typical of Blake’s innocence poetry. The word “arise” suggests the start of the day, but also a new beginning, a new life, as it does in Blake’s other poem, The Lamb – “gave thee life”.