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Blakes Songs of Innocence and Experience 1794 juxtapose the innocent pastoral world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression while such poems as The Lamb represent a meek virtue poems like The Tyger exhibit opposing darker forces Thus the collection as a whole explores the value and limitations of two different perspectives on the world Many of the poems fall into pairs so that the same situation or problem is seen through the lens of innocence first and then experience Blake does not identify himself wholly with either view most of the poems are dramatic--that is in the voice of a speaker other than the poet himself Blake stands outside innocence and experience in a distanced position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and correct the fallacies of both In particular he pits himself against despotic authority restrictive morality sexual repression and institutionalized religion his great insight is into the way these separate modes of control work together to squelch what is most holy in human beings The Songs of Innocence dramatize the naive hopes and fears that inform the lives of children and trace their transformation as the child grows into adulthood Some of the poems are written from the perspective of children while others are about children as seen from an adult perspective Many of the poems draw attention to the positive aspects of natural human understanding prior to the corruption and distortion of experience Others take a more critical stance toward innocent purity for example while Blake draws touching portraits of the emotional power of rudimentary Christian values he also exposes--over the heads as it were of the innocent--Christianitys capacity for promoting injustice and cruelty The Songs of Experience work via parallels and contrasts to lament the ways in which the harsh experiences of adult life destroy what is good in innocence while also articulating the weaknesses of the innocent perspective The
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