Comparison questions on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience

The Introductions to the Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Earth’s Answer, The Voice of Ancient Bard

How are the figures of the Piper and the Bard similar and different in these poems?

A “child on a cloud” and the “Holy Word” appear in these poems? Do you think they are connected in some kind of way? If so, why?

The first Introduction is written like a nursery rhyme, while the other Introduction, and Earth’s Answer are structured in a more unorthodox way. Why is this do you think?

All three poems are about people being “called” to do things? What are these things that they are “called” to do and why have they been “called to do them?

How do these poems use rhythm and rhyme to create tension and draw attention to key ideas, feelings and images?

The Shepherd, The Lamb, Night, The Chimney Sweeper (Innocence), The Little Black Boy, The Tyger

All of these poems make reference to lambs: how and why? Is there a common theme here?

Spring, Blossom, Introduction to Innocence, The Ecchoing Green, Night, Earth’s Answer, The Nurse’s Songs

How does Blake depict nature in these poems? How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

The Shepherd, The Garden of Love and the Nurse’s Songs (both Innocence and Experience)

The figure of the “Guardian” or parent is very important in these poems. How does Blake reveal two very different parenting styles? What is Blake saying about being a guardian or parent in these poems?

The Ecchoing Green and the Garden of Love

How are the societies that Blake depicts here similar and different? What has happened to the world of the ‘Ecchoing Green’ in ‘The Garden of Love’? Why has it been destroyed?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

The Little Black Boy, The Chimney Sweeper poems (Innocence and Experience) and The Little Vagabond

In what ways do these poems present children? Why and how are they presented as victims?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow, London, The Chimney Sweeper poems (Innocence and Experience) The School Boy

How are these poems similar and different in their depiction of young children and the world they are born into? What is Blake saying about education in these poems?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

The Little Boy Lost and The Little Boy Found (Innocence) A Little Boy Lost, The Little Girl Lost, The Little Girl Found, A Little Girl Lost(Experience)

What similar experiences do all these lost children experience in the poems? In what way do the parents behave in these poems? What role does religion, religious imagery and religious authority play in the poems?

How is the world of Experience different from that of Innocence?

How is the use of rhythm and rhyme similar and different in the poems?

Why do you think Blake kept returning to this story again and again?

The Nurse’s Song (Innocence),  Laughing Song, The Chimney Sweeper (Experience), The Nurse’s song (Experience)

These poems explore different emotional states of children and adults. What states do these explore and represent, and why?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

The Divine Image, Another’s Sorrow, The Human Abstract, The Clod and the Pebble and The Poison Tree

All three of these poems explore the ways in which individuals affect the world around them. How and why do they do this?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

Holy Thursday (Innocence and Experience), London, The Garden of Love and The Chimney Sweeper poems

These poems look at the treatment of children by the religious authorities. What is Blake saying about religious authority in these poems? How does he use poetic techniques to achieve his purposes?

How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

The Lamb, The Tyger, The Fly

What is Blake saying about animals in these poems? How and why does he use them as literary devices? How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

A Dream, The Chimney Sweeper (Innocence), The Angel

What role do dreams play in Blake’s poems? Why are they so important do you think? How does he use rhythm and rhyme to achieve his effects?

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