1. What do you consider to be the task or purpose of Songs of Innocence? In other words, do the songs teach us anything and, if so, what do they teach us?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The need to explore human existence and see it through more than one perspective, particularly a child's perspective, is Blake's intention in Songs of Innocence. For the child in Songs of Innocence, for example in The Chimney Sweeper, there is an acceptance of life and any injustices are a part of it so that even "Tom was happy & warm. The beatings that will take place if the boys do not "do their duty" are considered normal. However, in the Songs of Experience version of The Chimney Sweeper, the same narrator has a sarcastic and a knowing tone; wise beyond his years.  

According to the narrator of Introduction to Songs of Innocence, the poems need to be written down so that all people may read or listen to them and any "child" feel happy and "joy to hear." An adult can learn from this simplicity and there is a definite message in the poems to any cynical adult who needs to be content in God's love and accept that a return to innocence ensures a less self-absorbed existence. The use of  "all" and "child" in "Introduction" infers that these poems are for everyone and child can be interpreted to mean any child of God. The Songs of Innocence reveal one state of consciousness and an unquestioning faith and trust. When reading the poems, a reader should always be mindful of this and learn, as children do, to find peace in whatever situation he is faced with.    

Read the study guide:
Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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