Please make comparisons between William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience with reference to the poems "The Lamb," "The Chimney Sweeper,"...

Please make comparisons between William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience with reference to the poems "The Lamb," "The Chimney Sweeper," "Nurse's Song," "A Dream," "The Tyger," and "London."

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In The Songs of Innocence and Experience, the poems in each of the two halves tend to contrast and complement one another thematically. Blake will introduce a subject in one book then complicate it through the lens of maturity in the second.

As others have mentioned, "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are typical examples. "The Lamb" presents creation as holy and good, the work of a loving, benevolent God. However, "The Tyger" introduces doubt and ambiguity: if a creature as violent and frightening as a tiger is just as much a part of nature as the gentle lamb, then what does this say about the nature of God? Can God be all-good and loving if violence and evil exist in the world?

The two poems entitled "The Chimney Sweeper" also display this trajectory. In The Songs of Innocence , the chimney sweeper is a young child who, though faced with horrible living conditions, dreams of freedom in heaven. He feels that as long as he does his earthly "duty," God will reward him in the next world. However, the...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 29, 2019
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