William Blake Flashcards Preview

More Quals > William Blake > Flashcards

Flashcards in William Blake Deck (26):

To what poem does "Earth's Answer" respond?

The Introduction of Songs of Experience, where the Poet asks the Earth to wake up and pay attention, and save the world from darkness.


What is "Earth's Answer"?

That she (the natural world) cannot do as the poet asks because she is imprisoned by "the Father of ancient men". If the poet or others break the chains that bind her, she will be free to do as the poet asks.


What did Blake call "the Father of ancient men" in later poems?



What is described in "A Poison Tree"?

The speak describes two instances of anger. Once, he was angry with a friend. He talked to his friend about it, and his anger subsided.

Another time, he was angry with an enemy. In this case, the speaker lets his anger fester. The angers manifests in a plump, attractive apple, which the enemy steals during the night. The next morning, the speaker finds his enemy dead.


What Biblical allusion is made in "A Poison Tree"?

To the Book of Genesis, and the poisoned apple in the Garden of Eden.


What is an ambiguity in "A Poison Tree"?

The speaker says "In the morning glad I see" - does he mean in the "morning glad " (a bright morning) or that he is glad to see his enemy dead?


How do "Infant Sorrow" and "Infant Joy" each treat the subject of new life?

"Infant Joy" describes the innocence and unsullied happiness of a newborn baby, who is all "Joy."

"Infant Sorrow" describes the pain of childbirth from the infant's perspective. The baby has been brought violently into a strange and dangerous world, and its only resource is to "sulk" about it.


How many speakers are there in "Infant Joy"?

Two - the child and a parent/caretaker. Part of the pleasure in the poem is the understanding both speakers reach. Even though the infant cannot speak, they are both united in their experience of and understanding of Joy.


Where does God live in the poem "The Little Black Boy"? Why is this significant?

God lives in the sun. This is significant because the boy is "sun-burnt" and learning to "bear the heat." He offers to shade an English boy who is not as used to the heat as he is; i.e., the English boy is further from God (presumably because of his culture's practice of slavery.


What is the down and dirty "moral" of "The Little Black Boy"?

That all of us will appear the same to God once we transcend our earthly bodies.


When were Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience published?



What was Blake's main occupation in the book trade?

As an engraver


What was the artistic technique Blake invented to print his own works?

"Illuminated printing," meant to reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts. It was very time consuming, and so he printed very few copies of his own works.


When did William Blake Live?



How did Blake think of the Bible?

As the "Great Code of Art"


How did Blake's education compare with other early Romantics like Wordsworth and Coleridge, and how did it affect his writing?

He was not formally educated. Whereas the dominant trend in his time was to revere Virgil and the classics, Blake had almost no use for them. His interest was in the Bible and biblical sources.


What was Blake's opinion on institutions?

He was against them. He thought they were restrictive, and often corrupt.


What's an alternate reading of "A Poison Apple"?

Rather than "wrath" merely being anger, it could also be unexpressed sexual feelings (a reading made stronger by the connection to original sin, etc.) that leads to the murder of the enemy.


What was Blake's stance on sex?

He thought that sexual urges were natural, and sent from God - and so disagreed with the Church that they were sinful.


What French philosopher can be seen to influence Blake's works? What particular idea?

Rousseau; As with Wordsworth and Coleridge, the idea of the "noble savage" and the innocence of childhood was particularly appealing. Blake was really interested in childhood experience and often explored that perspective in "Songs."


How do Blake's illustrations influence the reading of his poems?

They require an attentive kind of reading. You have to pay attention to how the text and the image are working together - not just one or the other.


How did Blake's illustrations affect the distribution of his work?

He must have strongly believed they went together - hence never trying to distribute just the text of his poems. Since they were so time consuming to create, he made very, very few copies during his lifetime, which may have be a big reason why he didn't gain fame during his lifetime.


How are Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience meant to complement each other?

They are meant to show "two contrasting sides to the human soul."


Tyger, Tyger: Discuss "symmetry" in this poem.

What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry

It doesn't exactly rhyme, which seems the point of the lines. It also contrasts to "The Lamb", which rhymes easily and perfectly.


Compare the Introduction of "Songs of Innocence" to that of "Songs of Experience.

- Both involve a conversation: Innocence with some kind of spirit child, Experience with the Earth itself. The conversation reaches some kind of resolution in "Innocence," but not in "Experience."

- Weightier subject matter in "Experience"

- Sing-song quatrains in "Innocence" and five-line stanzas in "Experience"


Tyger, Tyger: Who is described as having formed the Tyger?

A smith -- this is not Godlike, pastoral creation but industrial ruthlessness that formed the dangerous Tyger