Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake

Songs of Innocence and of Experience book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Blake explore the "two contrary states of the human soul" in Songs of Innocence and of Experience?

Blake explores the "two contrary states of the human soul" in Songs of Innocence and of Experience by juxtaposing the experience of faith, wonder, and joy of the childlike perspective with the sense of horror, doubt, and suffering one gains through experience in a fallen world.

Expert Answers info

Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseLibrarian


calendarEducator since 2018

write1,041 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

In Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Blake explores these two sides of the human soul through two sections of poems. The first section features the poems of innocence, which are written from a childlike perspective and feature senses of faith, naive wonder, and optimism that characterize childhood. The second section contains the poems of experience, which are more cynical and even tragic. They feature suffering and doubt in the goodness of the world. The segregation of the two sections is meant to suggest the inevitable progression from innocence to the experience that comes with living in a fallen world.

Blake further emphasizes his point by having certain poems act as direct parallels of one another. Sometimes...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 963 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Rebecca Hope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write1,493 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write10,085 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Julie Feng eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write93 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial