Transition from Songs of Innocence to Songs of Experience

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      Innocence and Experience: it is indispensable that the boy who enjoyed full freedom and liberty in innocence ought to pass into experience. This is because the design of human life gives prominence to the Contrariety of human nature without which there is no 'progression.' A complete life on earth means the life of innocence and experience. Without experience or innocence the life cycle is incomplete and imperfect. The poems of Songs of Innocence and of Experience are based on this viewpoint of contrariety.

Innocence and Experience: it is indispensable that the boy who enjoyed full freedom and liberty in innocence ought to pass into experience. This is because the design of human life gives prominence to the Contrariety of human nature without which there is no 'progression.' A complete life on earth means the life of innocence and experience. Without experience or innocence the life cycle is incomplete and imperfect. The poems of Songs of Innocence and of Experience are based on this viewpoint of contrariety.
William Blake

      Transition from Innocence to Experience: When an infant is born into this world - he starts his life from innocence. In his infancy he observes nature glad in beauty and loveliness, he makes friends with the lamb, bird and flowers; and he is wholly free to do, whatever he likes. His heart is pure, unstained by worldliness, devoid of evil thoughts and feelings. He laughs and plays, to him nature and its objects are thrilling, everlasting fountain of joy and happiness. But this stage cannot and does not last for ever. Before long he grows up and is naturally taken into the fold of experience. During this process of growth the glory and the dreamy flavour of innocence gradually vanishes, and ultimately when he is completely out of this world of splendour he begins to have visions of the new world of experience. In experience his, outlook and principles suffer a tremendous change and, he becomes one among the men of this world. At this stage jealousy, cruelty and hypocrisy rule the heart: henceforth the man of experience grows jealous about the welfare of his fellowmen, the innocence of the children stirs envy and suspicion in him; he sets his sinare to fell his prey and deceive his fellow human beings.

      The Inevitability of Dual Nature: These two diverse natures of man are essential for the ultimate salvation of his soul. From experience man moves to a world of higher innocence. Blake seems to argue that joy and peace, which man had Expericnce in his childhood, can have solid foundations only if man has experienced and overcome the impediments and unpleasant realities which day-to-day life presents. That is to say, to attain a higher innocence man must be tested by suffering and misery, physical as well as emotional; he must go through the actual experience of life. Through the state of childhood innocence is charming, it is not perfect and cannot last long. For spiritual elevation, lessons from both Expericnce and innocence are essential.

      The Price of Experience: In one of his prophetic books. Blake explains that experience has to be bought at a very high price. In order to have experience man must forego all that he possesses his house, his wife, his children. One has to sacrifice not merely things like peace and comfort but all the best and the dearest things that we have. In Songs of Experience it is clarified that our child-like innocence is put to test and proved false or inadequate by our experience of actual life and that what we take for granted in the state of innocence is not true of actual life.

      The Order and Disorder: In a sense, the world of innocence is a world of order and the world of experience is a world of disorder. In Songs of Innocence most of the poems illustrate the happiness and freedom of children. The symbols are lucid and clear. The keynote of the poems is one of joy and happiness. Most of them have nature partaking in the merry sports of children. Often there is an allusion to the world of God or heaven.

      The world of experience has none of this order. There the unity lies is its diversity. In Songs of Experience Blake presents deep regions of the mind and diverse suffering. Man is shown suffering from suppression, oppression and the cruelty of the world. The branches of the oppressive elements of experience spread far and wide. We see sexual jealousy, envy, callousness, prohibition on human instinct, a grotesque divine image, slavery, the curse of prostitution, mortality, insignificance of human life, dehumanising and negative codes of social ethics, tyranny, lovelessness, hostility of religious institutions, tormenting 'usurous hands', exhaustion from frustrated love, reason and logic, indifference to the active life, nipping of vitality, and class-consciousness. In Songs of Innocence, all its different aspects are shown in a vein of happiness. For instance the union of the lost boy, infant joy, the chimney-sweeper's vision of the angel, the mirth of sport on the echoing green, the sense of security, innocence of lamb, the jovial spring season, vicarious pleasure of the nurse in 'Nurse's Song' the sparrow, robin and blossom all express or imply the element of happiness and gaiety and security. However, such an innocence is not enough for man's salvation; he must go through experience and learn to face the wrath of the tiger before he reaches a higher innocence.

University Questions also can be Answered:

Q. 12. Bring out the transition from Songs of Innocence to Songs of Experience.
Or
Q. Trace how, Blake's thought develops from Songs of Innocence to Songs of Experience.
Or
Q. Experience is not merely essential but also desirable for man to attain maturity. Discuss with reference to Blake's Songs.

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