Comments on Little Black Boy by William Blake

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One of the first writers of the Romantic period William Blake’s writings are a curious mixture, his voice in the early 1790’s was the conscience of the Romantic Age. He was an artist with words and believed himself to be guided by visions from the spiritual world, which lie heavy in this poem I have chosen. I would like to focus on the poem ‘Little Black Boy’ to which Blake centres on the spiritual awaking to a divine love that transcends race. It tells of how the ‘Little Black Boy’ came to know his identity and to know God.

Blake’s poem is dramatic, that is, in the voice of a speaker other than the poet himself. This poem of Blake’s uses the Little Black Boy to narrate the poem in first person. This projects the reader clearly inside the consciousness of the boy in the poem giving us the images from the defined observer. As a result, Blake stands outside innocence and experience in a distance position. The innocence is from ‘Songs of Innocence’, Blake’s first collection of poems, to which Blake’s subject matter shows the innocent, pastoral world of childhood. This was juxtaposed with experience, which was taken from ‘Songs of Experience’, his other collection, which shows the adult world of corruption and repression, therefore, showing the two contrary states of the human soul. The ‘songs of innocence’ dramatise the naive hopes and fears that inform the lives of children, namely the ‘Little Black Boy’ who tells this didactic story about himself in this poem.

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