Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience present two contrasting ways of looking at the world and life.  Comment in detail.

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing you have to do to when reading Blake's poetry is have some ideas about innocence and experience.  Start two lists of brainstorming associations, one for each.  Your list of associations for "innocence" might include ideas such as: childlike and naive.  "Experience" might include ideas such as: knowledgeable and cynical.  You should create a longer list than that, but that can get you started.  As you create your lists, you can start to answer your question.  If one is looking at the world through innocent eyes, then what would he notice?  How would he react to new experiences?  Then ask yourself the same questions for the person evaluating the world through the eyes of experience.  Once you have those thoughts established, then you can look at pairs of Blake's poems and see how he illustrates the different veiws of the world.  "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are an easy place to start.  "The Lamb" in The Songs of Innocence conveys an innocent view of religious faith.  "The Tyger" in The Songs of Experience conveys ideas that would come from more life experiences.  Another good pair to look at are the two "Chimney Sweep" poems.  The life of a chimney sweep in 1800 England was brutal, but look at the difference in attitude about the job as shown in each poem. 

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Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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