Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reading Response #3 "Of Lambs and Tygers"

        In the article “Of Lambs and Tygers: Joseph Crawford succumbs to the questioning spirit of Blake’s ‘Tyger’ rather than seeking to confine its meanings,” written by Joseph Crawford, the author attempts to discover any meaning out of “The Tyger” by asking more questions and relating the poem to its sister poem, “The Lamb.” He takes all of the currently asked questions of “The Tyger” and inputs background information from Blake’s mythology, especially “The Lamb.” Crawford continually goes over innocence and experience and its importance in Blake’s writing and in life. This contrast and comparison lie within both “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” with the latter being of experience and “The Lamb” representing innocence. Throughout the article, the author slowly put together an answer, not to his original question of whom, why, and how the tyger was made, but of what Blake wanted this battle of innocence and experience to represent. A first step to his conclusion occurred when he realized how unanswerable most, if not all, questions of “The Tyger” are. The poem lies in a web of confusion and doubt while questions range forever about its meaning; it “is lost in forests of the night” (Crawford 4). He realizes there won’t be answers to the poem because in the tyger’s world of experience and doubt, the questioner spirit will always conflict with any possible guesses at the meaning of “The Tyger.”
         The important revelation of not being able to find answers in “The Tyger’s” world becomes a gateway to understanding the point of these two poems. As the author delves further into Blake’s different writings for possible explanations, an important question is revisited and never truly answered. This question as he stated was,” Is there one god for the lamb and one for the tyger or are they the same god, seen from the perspectives of innocence and experience, respectively?” (Crawford 4). The second part of this quote was the most significant part of the quote as it questioned whether or not perspectives could be the reason for such a gap of how God is seen. I see it as more realistic for there to be one god being seen from different views rather than polytheism for the differences of the innocent and experienced. This is because there are already many views in the world today on how faith and experience are seen, as well as how God is viewed and perspectives seem like the more reasonable outcome from this question. The perspectives of humans, especially when applied to the vast difference of innocence and experience, make the world what it stands to be today. Crawford finally attained a more distinct answer to the thousands of questions about “The Tyger” from looking into Blake’s other poems when one of the poems states,” It is right it should be so/Man was made for Joy and Woe/And when this we rightly know/Thro the world we safely go” (Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”, lines 55-58). Blake is trying to show the views of innocence and experience, with “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” still representing these different views. In this quote he says we must learn to live with both a balance of innocence and experience, “Joy and Woe.” The child meek and mild from “The Lamb” was innocent and responded to all questions with clear, concise answers, but these answers were not doubted for possible error or a different interpretation which could lead to mistakes. “The Tyger,” mixed with its web of doubt and questioning, never showed an answer to questions because there was no faith or innocence in its world so it led to a never ending string of doubt, spiraling into nothing. When combined, Blake attempts to show us that this is the way to achieve balance; in this way, humans will not try to purge one’s self of neither innocence nor experience and rather combine and live with both. Then we can attempt to reach the goal of enlightenment that Blake has set before us. I see Blake’s reasoning on innocence and experience as vital to our existence since it remains a continuous lesson that many never understand. It took forms from interpretations into different stories over time because of how important it is to live with that innocence of a child full of faith, like a lamb, and with the questioning experience of an adult, like a tyger; once again like joy and woe. 

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