Connection Between Songs of Innocence and Experience

Also Read

      The Connecting Thread between Songs Innocence and Experience : Blake felt that though the state of infantile innocence and happiness is astonishingly reactive and refreshing it could not be the extreme limit of the human soul's progress. It is only a part of experience. It is only a part of the whole, and the whole consists of both innocence and experience. The tests of suffering and experiences are indispensable for the soul's progress. This is the thread that connects the two hemispheres of human life together. In the life cycle of our being (soul) experience is a stage of development without which the cycle will be incomplete and hence static. The energetic aspect of the human soul is not to be chided, for, as Blake says, it is divine and not sinful or unacknowledged by God. In Experience man is far from his childlike innocence and simplicity and at this stage:

The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from the eye...

 

It is only a part of the whole, and the whole consists of both innocence and experience. The tests of suffering and experiences are indispensable for the soul's progress. This is the thread that connects the two hemispheres of human life together. In the life cycle of our being (soul) experience is a stage of development without which the cycle will be incomplete and hence static. The energetic aspect of the human soul is not to be chided, for, as Blake says, it is divine and not sinful or unacknowledged by God. In Experience man is far from his childlike innocence and simplicity and at this stage:  The clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from the eye...
Songs of Innocence and Experience

      And in this sober colouring he loses all the other simple colours of childhood in which there was splendour in the grass and "glory in the flower."

      The Major Symbols or Likeness in the Characters of 'Experience' Considering the care Blake took with point of view, recurring symbols, and symbolic action, we can see that gradually many of Blake's characters merge. The final products of these mergers may be called the major symbols. Kindred points of view tend to unite the holders of these points of view, characters who are associated continually with the same or similar symbols tend to melt into one another, and a similar pattern of action reveals a fundamental affinity among the actors. In these ways the significance and value of any one character in any one song are intensified and expanded beyond the immediate context. Their physical identity may shift but their symbolic value remains constant - or better, is constantly enriched. When the beadle's wand in Holy Thursday is recognised as part of basic sceptre motif, the beadle's identity, while being retained as representative of church law, merges with that of Tiriel, say and the "father of men" in 'Earth's Answer'. the pebble in "The Clod and the Pebble", the "cold and usurous hand" of 'Holy Thursday'. God in The Chimney Sweeper, the mother, parson, and Dame Lurch in "The Little Vagabond" Cruelty. Humility, and the Human Brain in The Human Abstract, and Tirzah in 'To Tirzah'. Within the identity are inherent all the other identities which combine to make the major symbol of the context. The priests of 'The Garden of Love' may bind with briars love and desire. But they do so because they are selfish fatherly, cold and usurous, wordly, cruel, humble, hypocritical, and so forth.

      One serious question remains how does one distinguish among all these characters, or are they all precisely alike and hence redundant. Professor mark Schorer answers the question : The point is that the individuality of these creations lies not in their rich diversity but in the outline that separates them from their backgrounds." That is, each individual identity, in its specific context is at once a part. Both the priest of 'The Garden of Love' and the flower in 'My Pretty Rose-Tree' are self-sufficient for some understanding of these two poems. Blake simply asked his reader to do something more than merely understand: that, he said, is a corporal function. He wanted them to imagine as he imagined, to see as he saw, even to re-create as he created. Only then does his method make sense: only then can one see the minor symbols as parts of a major symbol, only then can the individual song take its rightful place as a Song of 'Innocence' or a Song of 'Experience'.

Previous Post Next Post

Google Search