Songs of Innocence and Experience

Who is the speaker in the Introduction of Innocence poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The speaker is the piper. Another character in the poem is a floating child, and the child is telling the piper what to pipe, then sing, then write.

Who is the audience in the Introduction of Innocence poem?
On one level the child is the audience to the piper, but the reader is the audience for the entire scene. The specific audience Blake was writing towards was middle class.

Who is the speaker in The Shepherd poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The speaker is the narrator. Another character in the poem is the shepherd and he is being described by the speaker. Also there are sheep who feel protected because the shepherd is there.

Who is the audience in The Shepherd poem?
The reader, the specific audience Blake was writing towards was middle class.

Who is the speaker in The Lamb poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The speaker is a little child, boy according to the image. Other characters in the poem is the lamb and Jesus Christ. The little child is talking to the lamb, telling him about his creation and how they are both similar to Jesus Christ.

Who is the audience in The Lamb poem?
On one level the lamb is the audience to the child’s speech, but the reader is the audience for the entire scene. The specific audience Blake was writing towards was middle class.

Who is the speaker in The Little Black Boy poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The speaker is the little black boy. Other characters are the little black boy’s mother, a little white English boy, God, and the Sun. The mother is telling her son not to worry about his skin color because it is just an effect of God’s love, because he shines from the sun. And in the end in heaven there will be no skin color, we will all be the same. The little black boy misconstrues this message slightly and tells the little white english boy that he has to protect him in a way from God’s almost too bright/strong love, but in the end in heaven they will all be white and love each other and loved by God.

Who is the audience of The Little Black Boy poem?
The little black boy is the audience to his mother and the little white English boy is the audience to the little black boy. But also the reader is the audience to entire scene. Intended audience were probably middle class English who held prejudices against black people.

Who is the speaker in The Chimney Sweeper , Innocence, poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The chimney sweeper is the speaker in the beginning and then a narrator (maybe still the chimney sweeper) narrates Tom’s dream. Other characters in the poem are the chimney sweepers parents and a fellow chimney sweeper Tom Dacre. The chimney sweeper explains how his mother died and his father sold him to sweep chimneys. Then little Tom cries because his white hair was shaved off and the chimney sweepers comforts him by saying that will stop the soot from spoiling his hair. Then Tom has a dream and he is confronted that although his life sucks now, when he dies it will be better.

Who is the audience of The Chimney Sweeper, Innocence, poem?
Tom Darce is the audience to the chimney sweeper and the reader is the audience to the larger scene and the dream. Specific audience Blake is reaching are those who put children into the labour system and those who exploit the children in the labour system. These institutions of church and state can be critiqued for placing the child in innocent danger, for they say as long as you work hard, you will be rewarded in the end, but that is not really good.

Who is the speaker in the Holy Thursday, Innocence, poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The narrator is the speaker. Other characters in the poem are the orphaned children on their way to Holy Thursday mass and the aged, wise men who are the orphans’ donors.

Who is the audience of the Holy Thursday, Innocence, poem?
The intended audience would probably be the middle class and the church because he is critiquing the institution of the church and how much their “giving” is doing for these children.

Who is the speaker in the Introduction, Experience, poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The narrator is the speaker at first, then the Bard is the speaker. Another character in the poem is the earth, and the Bard is calling the Earth to return from possibly a fallen state.

Who is the audience of the Introduction, Experience, poem?
The audience is the reader and then later the Earth when the Bard is speaking. Intended audience is probably those familiar with the Adam and Eve story and the middle class who can insight change.

Who is the speaker in the Earth’s Answer poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
In the first stanza a narrator is speaking, then the earth speaks. When the earth speaks, she is responding to the Bard. Another character is the F/father, whom the Earth blames for her jealousy.

Who is the audience of the Earth’s Answer poem?
The audience to the Earth is the Bard. The audience of the poem are the middle class because trying to show how institutions like the church and state are keeping the Earth in a fallen state.

Who is the speaker in the Holy Thursday, Experience, poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The speaker is the narrator. Other characters are babes, usurious hands, or the old wise men, and poor children.

Who is the audience of the Holy Thursday, Experience, poem?
The intended audience would probably be the middle class and the church because he is critiquing the institution of the church and how the children are being used by usurious hands. Also although the hands are feeding the children they are not solving the root of the problem at hand.

Who is the speaker in The Chimney Sweeper , Experience, poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The narrator is the speaker in the first stanza, then the chimney sweeper begins to speak. Other characters are the chimney sweeper’s parents, God, God’s priest and the King. And all these characters seem to think that they have done no harm to the chimney sweeper just because he appears happy. This is a critique of the church and state institutions.

Who is the audience of The Chimney Sweeper, Experience, poem?
The intended audience are the institutions that are allowing the horrible child labor to go on in these chimneys. For example, God and his priest refer to the fact that the church is not helping these children and King which represents the government is not helping either. Also a message to those that employ the chimney sweepers and those that sell them into the system.

Who is the speaker in The Tyger poem? What other characters, if any, are in the poem, and what is their relationship to the speaker?
The narrator is the speaker. Other characters are the Tyger, the creator and the lamb.

Who is the audience of The Tyger poem?
For the poet there is a divine inspiration FROM WITHIN, as the audience what do we do with this? Do we accept this? or reject it like the Earth? The audience is the middle class and we are supposed to take apart of the creation process with the Bard.

Which of the poems are especially ironic?
The Little Black Boy:
Although the mother is trying to tell her son it is okay to be black because it is a sign of God’s love and in the end skin color won’t matter, what is ironic is that this little boy takes this to mean that he has to protect the white man because God’s love is too strong for them, but in the end they will all get to be white together, and then he will be loved.
The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence:
This poem is ironic because although little Tom is full of hope after his dream, the moral that he received from this dream, that nothing will get better until you die, should not be hopeful but depressing.

Holy Thursday of Innocence:
It is ironic because these holy old wise men are only doing charity because there may be some sort of gain by helping them, either an angle visits them or they simply just look good to the community. Ironic because men of the church are not doing good deeds for the right reasons and these good deeds they are doing are not even really helping the orphans.

Earth’s Answer:
It is ironic that she is female, is a direct reference of the fallen state and how it is all Eve’s fault.

Holy Thursday of Experience:
The narrator describes babes being fed, which should be good BUT he describes these babes as in misery and being fed with usurious hands. So ironic because these holy people are feeding the children, which is good BUT it is not good enough to actually fix the problem. The irony is these poor miserable babes are living in a rich and fruitful land.

The Chimney Sweeper of Experience:
The irony in this poem is that the chimney sweeper says he is happy, and dances, and sings, but he is really not happy and he has been injured by those who put him and keep him in the chimneys.

Tyger
I think it is ironic that Blake points out did the same sweet/nice God who made the lamb, make the scary powerful tyger?

Which poems can be paired together ? Why? Consider pairing poems that are within different books and similar books.
Introduction of Innocence vs. Introduction of Experience:
both talk about the role of the poet and how he is inspired, in Innocence the piping comes from within so saying how capable the poet is maybe even prophetic. In experience the Bard is definitely prophetic and has divine influence and has confidence to speak directly and command the Earth.

The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence vs. The Chimney Sweeper of Experience:
In innocence, there is a reference to the fact that the chimney sweeper was an orphan, but in experience it seems the parents are using their child for money by selling him into labour. Both critique the institutions of church and gov but experience does it more clearly, in innocence you just question the motives of the people working the children, but sort of idea that well at least Tom is happy. In experience the chimney sweeper comes straight out and says these people have done me harm. In both Blake is the voice of the children.

Holy Thursday of Innocence vs. Holy Thursday of Experience:
In Holy Thursday, Experience, there is no beating around the bush. It is clear from Blake’s lines and pictures that the children are suffering through the usurious hands of the church.

The Shepherd vs. The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence:
In the shepherd the lamb feel protected and they are at peace vs. the orphan children are not truly being protected by the old, wise men, there is no physical relation between the two. The old wise men just pay some money so that they can tot around these orphan children and brag about all the “good” things they have done, but really not protecting them.

The Lamb vs. The Tyger:
How did the same God that made the lamb make the scary Tyger? The lamb just poofed and appeared, where the Tyger is the fruit of laborious work that maybe came from experience. Also there is more of a creation process within the poem, so sort of casts the poet in a creator light, so maybe the poet holds divinity within himself.

The Little Black Boy vs. The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence:
Both have this weird sense of hope after death in heaven. Although both are not treated fairly they have an innocent faith and just believing that everything will be better in death, not necessarily a good thing.However, the little black boy has a better grasp on experience then little Tom, for the little black boy has developed a sense of self-hatred.

The Introduction of Experience vs. Earth’s Answer:
In comparing the two the reader can see the important role the Bard plays in redeeming the earth from its fall, which is supposed to be Jesus’s job, so maybe a reference to a sort of inner divinity of the poet, do the poet and God have similar roles and abilities? What does this say about man>

Which poems address innocence?
The Introduction of Innocence
The Shepherd
The Lamb

Which poems address experience?
Introduction of Experience
Earth’s Answer
Holy Thursday of Experience
The Chimney Sweeper of Experience
The Tyger (?)

Which poems address both innocence and experience?
The Little Black Boy
The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence
Holy Thursday of Innocence

Which of the poems address an ideal society?
The Shepherd: especially when in contrast with the way the holy men work in the Holy Thursday of Innocence.

The Little Black Boy: there are two different ideal worlds, the one the mother describes to her son and the one the little black boy describes to the little English white boy.

The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence: An ideal world is described in Tom’s dream.

Holy Thursday of Innocence: the children going to mass on Holy Thursday could at first appear to be an ideal world, however the last line calls this into question and the Holy Thursday poem of experience solidifies that this is not an ideal world, but an innocent reading of the poem would allow the reader to think that this was an ideal world.

Holy Thursday of Experience: in the last stanza in contrast to the bad way things are going on, the narrator describes an ideal world where the sun shines and the rain falls and there is no hunger or poverty.

Which poems critique society, especially religious or government institutions?
The Little Black Boy:
Critiques the society for instituting a difference in the value of lives based on skin color. The abolition movements were starting to take root around this time.

The Chimney Sweeper, Innocence:
Critiques a society where family may be forced to sell a their own child into child labor.

Holy Thursday, Innocence:
Critiquing the institution of the church for being selfish and two-faced, although the wise old churchmen like to parade around these orphan boys that they are “helping” there help is superficial, Blake says you need to do more to actually fix the social problem.

Holy Thursday, Experience:
Critiques the institution of the church again, says the clergy are usurious and in a land that is supposed to be fruitful and rich there are just an abundance of children suffering.

The Chimney Sweeper, Experience:
Critiques the people who send children into child labor and use children in child labor, commenting that they are blind, or choose to ignore, the wrongs they have done to these children. Also critiquing the institution of the government and the church because the parents have gone to praise these institutions but meanwhile these children are left behind suffering in servitude and these institutions do nothing to help them.

Which of the poems address the poet’s role, the imagination, or the act of creation?
Introduction, Innocence:
The poet begins as a piper who is piping a song that is inspired from within himself, he goes through the act of creating a poem by first piping this inspiration and then singing it and then writing it down. Possibly some sort of divine inspiration coming from within, but not being told to him by the little cherub boy.

The Lamb:
This poem addresses creation, speaks of how the lamb is soft and sweet and innocent just like Jesus/God “who made thee.”

The Little Black Boy:
This poem deals with imagination in a way that the little black boy imagines a heaven where he will be white and loved and this is not necessarily the same heaven his mother described to him.

The Chimney Sweeper, Innocence:
This poem deals with imagination because little Tom dreams of a land or heaven where everything gets better when the little chimney sweepers get out of their black coffins.

Introduction, Experience:
The Bard/poet is prophetic and can talk about the past present and future, he is also wise hearing from the ancient trees of the garden of Eden. The poet is also a guide to the earth, like the starry poles, trying to call/guide the earth back from the fall to redemption.

Holy Thursday, Experience:
This poem has an element of imagination for an ideal world is being described in the last stanza.

The Tyger:
This poem deals with the act of creation. Calls into question that does the same God, who is supposed to be sweet and soft like the lamb make the scary and ferocious tyger? Also the poets role is creating this scary but beautiful image of the tyger, so he too is taking part of the creation of this animal.