Writing for the Humanities Flaka Sejdaj English 21001, Section P Due: December 17, 2009 Professor: Zach Samalin William Blake Poem William Blake, the worlds famous English poet (1757- 1827). He never limited himself to a title where you would say he’s poet of only romance or drama but whatever went wept through his soul he would engrave it in words. Joy and sorrow are opposite each other yet Blake develops poems from each aspect. The two poems I will be talking about are Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow.
Infant Joy seems as if it’s a poem about an Infant named Joy. It is very perky and jolly. It appears as if there are two speakers one the Baby and the other asking how should they name the baby which probably would be the mother. It’s an exchange of words yet not having a hard time responding to each other and just going with the flow. Also, that they are talking about a new life very happily and it shows that they are not alone. In contrast of the Infant of Joy is the Infant of Sorrow. The Infant of sorrow is all about weeping and how dangerous things are and how unhappy the infant was.
In infant sorrow, the baby is alone and telling how sad everything is describing the mother and fathers experiences but it’s not the same as Infant Joy where the mother shares the happiness with the infant. Noticing both poems, In Infant Joy since the mother is happy and luminous and pure Joy the baby turns out the same, meanwhile in Infant sorrow the Infant describes the mother and father in sorrow and you could just get that negative feeling of them and therefore the Infant turned out the same with out Joy but with being unthankful of the world and life itself.
In infant Joy there are 4 syllables in the first line and the shortest syllables in the poem are 3. There are two stanzas and Blake uses ABCAAC for the first stanza and DBCEEC for the second stanza. In Infant Sorrow there are 8 syllables in the first line and there is a pattern the first two lines are 8 syllables and the next two lines after are 7, until the last two line which are 7 and 8 syllables. In this poem he used AA BB for both of his stanzas which were very rhythmic. The poems have an internal rhyme because there is a story between the lines.
It’s not just about any story but it shows a connection of how Joy and sorrow shows different aspects of life and how there are different interactions in these two situations. In Infant Joy I did not see any assonance, consonance or alliteration; the same in Infant sorrow have different aspects of life of an infant have different aspects of life of an infant. Both, Infant sorrow and Joy have a rhyme scheme. In infant Joy, the syllable count is very random and doesn’t go into any order. It goes form 4 to 6 to different orders again, in the other hand for the Infant sorrow there is a syllable count.
In infant Joy there is a rhyme scheme between the stanzas. In Infant Joy the rhythm is disrupted because at some points it starts rhyming and then it ends. However, In the Infant sorrow it looked very organized and the rhyming was well in order. Its kind of ironic how Blake uses order in his poem to describe the sorrows and he’s almost all over the place with the Infant Joy poem. In my opinion this concludes that when the infants or when happiness comes to the game, then you can’t really be in order and have that monotone and not everything should be in its place. Infant joy as mentioned before, it seems as there are two speakers.
The speakers would be the baby and the mother based on the way Blake wrote the poem. It’s almost as if it’s a dialogue and it is throwing us back and forth from the adults and babies perspective on a new life. It also shows that when an environment is with more spirit in it and involves happiness then more than one person finds a way to express it together. In Infant Sorrow, there is only one speaker. It is the babies’ point of view and how depressing life is and talks about the parents as well. The theme of the poems is to show us the two different ways life could be looked at.
Joy and Sorrow. It shows the feelings towards a new life. In infant Joy I could picture a baby’s face smiling and sun shining with a lot of happy faces around because that’s the type of imagery message this poem makes me detect. For example in the poem when it says “Thou dost smile” I picture smiling, the poem just gives you that warmth feeling and you feel all snuggled up. In the other hand Infant sorrow is quite the opposite. Infant sorrow has me picturing tears and danger; it would definitely be an environment no one would like to be in. Infant sorrow has very clear imagery.
It’s very descriptive of how the baby for examples says struggles in its father’s hands; everyone can picture that small sentence. The poems do not subvert the reader’s expectations in any way. The title of both poems says it all and though out the poem the reader would not be confused in any way and it wouldn’t overthrow our idea of what we would think the poems are about. Infant Joy explains itself of the infant is just at peace and has no worries. This brings out to show that since there is no definite name but Joy it still doesn’t have any worries or any negative thoughts.
It’s simply brought out to the new world and that’s partly Joy to a newborn and the mother. Infant sorrow uses a simile, “Helpless, naked, piping loud, like a fiend hid in a cloud. ” Similes help us imagine of how things might be like, because it’s comparing it to something else that we might be more familiar with. The baby is saying for itself, it’s helpless and loud and naked and all those cases just like a little devil creature hidden in a cloud. We know that the devil is below the grounds, how ironic for Blake to use the clouds. Both poems are using hyperbole.
The largest hyperbole is the baby talking. The Infant is nothing but two days old as stated in Infant Joy, and to know all these words and to notice all of this is amazing. Usually two days old babies just smile and roll around and eventually cry but they have their moments of joy and sorrow but not as dramatic as Blake puts it to be. There doesn’t seem to be any personification, everything that is mentioned is real it just might be exaggerated a little bit. Infant Joy and sorrow are not addressing these words or poems to anyone in particular.
It’s for all readers who intend to read it. There is no designated person or thing that it is addressed to. Since the baby is a living human and it will grow to speak one day until it gather it’s words and knowledge of how to use them, Prosopopeia doesn’t apply to the infant for it is not a fake object that can not speak; Blake only makes the infant speak a little ahead of its time. The deviations in the poems meter correspond to the turns or changes in the poems meaning. Infant Joy doesn’t have a constant flowing meter and I can’t determine whether it’s an Iambic or trochaic meter.
Although for the Infant sorrow I think it’s a Iambic meter, it’s a rising meter, and connects everything together with the poems meaning and the meter. There is no tension between the poems formal aspect and its meaning. However we read it and is seen on paper, is the meaning of the poem. The formal aspect tells and shows us how the poem would be interpreted and by doing that we find the meaning of the poem. Both poems sounds augment the rhetorical tropes. It gives the rhetorical tropes a boost and an edge. Life always has its ways and comes in pairs.
Just like a man and a woman as a pen and pencil, salt and pepper and so do Blakes poems Infant Sorrow and Infant Joy. Both are opposite of each other giving both perspectives of the two different positions an Infant would be in. We also have to think in what position we would like to be in, so our Infants which hopefully we will have our own one day, how would you want to see them, in which poem would you like o see you infant in. William Blake has a unique style of writing because some of them are simple, yet when you break them down you see all the work into it.