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Infant Sorrow Essay

596 words - 3 pages

English Literature Infant Sorrow analysis ‘Infant Sorrow’ is the counterpart to ‘Infant Joy’ which Blake wrote in 1994 shortly after the battle of Bastille and the French revolution in1989. This collection of works became part of the songs of experience the predecessor of the songs of innocence. The form of the poem is two short quatrains made up of couplets, with the second and fourth lines using no caesura. The first and third always use caesura. The poem is written in the first person narrative and incorporates an internal rhyming scheme of rhyming couplets. Blake uses the pronouns mother and father within the poem and offsets them against adjectives such as ‘groan’d’ and ‘struggling’ to convey his perception that child birth is rife with terror and anxiety. The first quatrain has many active verbs ...view middle of the document...

In the first line of infant sorrow the nouns mother and father are used and again in the second quatrain this possibly illustrates Blakes perception of childbirth not being an experience of comfort by emphasising these nouns. In the final line of the poem Blake’s lexical choice of the baby to ‘sulk’ upon his mothers breast conveys the frustrated surrendering of the child as his relentless struggle is futile. The infant is the only angry speaker of this poem. He addresses a world that will never listen to his downtrodden voice, no matter how loud his wails. The world weeps for him, but offers no comforting embrace. The tone is sullen and mean, contributing to a sense of hopelessness and despair. youcan’t help but be left with a feeling of hopelessness—this infant’s existence will only be comprised of dissatisfaction and helplessness. The words chosen by Blake are stark—dangerous, helpless, naked, loud, struggling, bound, weary, and sulk his choice of lexis convey a bleak existence and encumber the poem with tension. This is not an anticipated birth, as the father weeps at the sight of his child. Blake describes the child’s push from his mother’s womb as he leaps into the world, not even to be cradled in his parents’ unwelcoming embrace. This unwanted babe finds a cold welcome in his father’s hands, as he thrust away from a breast that will never offer him comfort. This infant is only one more mouth to feed, and it will be years before he will be able to work as a slave of child labour. He will not have long to wait until his cheeks will be hollowed with hunger and despair, his eyes robbed of life for eternity. He is weary, and in defeat he sullenly rests against his mother’s thin breast—a breast never to offer him sustenance. {draw:frame}

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