Tuesday, December 3, 2019
My mother bore me in the southern wild Essay Example
My mother bore me in the southern wild Essay My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white; The little black boy has internalised conventional messages about black and white. The second line indicates that he has learned societys message that white means good and innocent. White as an angel is the English child, We will write a custom essay sample on My mother bore me in the southern wild specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on My mother bore me in the southern wild specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on My mother bore me in the southern wild specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer But I am black as if bereavd of light. The third and fourth lines re-instate that he shares societys view that it is heavenly to be white; angels are close to god. Her feels like he has been given a harder lot in life in being black, that he has been denied the light of God. My mother taught me underneath a tree And sitting down before the heat of day, She took me on her lap and kissed me, And pointing to the east began to say: The illustration from the first plate shows the African mother explaining to her son, presumably already a slave; it is of innocence. The mother teaches the son to look ahead to a world to come rather than trying to transform this world through vision. Look on the rising sun: there God does live And gives his light, and gives his heat away. With the light and warmth being given to the white man, thus making it appear as though God favours him. And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive Comfort in morning, joy in the noon day. And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love: And these black bodies and this sunburnt face Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove For when our souls have learned the heat to bear The cloud will vanish; we shall hear his voice, Saying: Come out from the grove, my love ; care, And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice. The childs mother consoles him with a vision of a better life to come, away from the prejudices and hardship of life, and the child accepts this, encouraging him to a further vision of leading rather than being led by the little white English boy to God and Heaven. The mothers teaching may itself be a form of innocence, and the boys vision of Heaven, transcending the divisions of race, is certainly innocent. The boy speaks from innocence and is comforted by his answer to his question, that there is a reason God gave the black boy a harder lot in life, that he has a mission to shade the English boy from the harsh rays of the sun. Thus did my mother say and kissed me: And thus I say to little English boy; When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy, The mother and chills view their present, earthly state as something negative, something un-divine which simply must be endured, while they look forward to the infinity in the future and divinity in the mysterious God who exists, what seems, light years away. The child accepts his mothers argument that earthly life is a life of acute suffering. Nonetheless, the mothers lesson to her son is different from what her son learns. He prophesises a time of harmony, when the spiritually superior black boy will have taught the white boy the ways of spiritual love. Blake systematically presents the speech of children as being characterised by compiled conjunctions. The mother and child in The Little Black Boy use just such speech, implicating both mother and son in using childish language to construct a wilfully, wishfully alternative version of reality. The understanding that Blake advocates here is extremely hopeful and is wholly an acceptance based in the heavenly sphere: only When I from black and he from white cloud free. Even the little boy listening to his mother seems to recognise that only in heaven, only when our souls have learned the heat to bear and God lets the cloud vanish will this sort of equality take place. Ill shade him from the heat, till he can bear To lean in joy upon our fathers knee: And then Ill stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him and he will love me. The poems ending, in which the little black boy takes his mothers message of spiritual superiority and envisions himself helping the inferior white boy, as suggesting that the black boy has both accepted the mothers lesson and repudiated it, by using it, inappropriately, to cope with the problem it was intended to transcend. The Little Black Boy is a poem that is not about innocence, but about a deluded and self-deluding innocence that refuses to face its pain, and in doing so enacts hypocrisies attributed to Experience. The Little Black Boy is an excellent example of how the engraved images subtly change the meaning of the poem to expose the ugliness the poem implies, making it one of the most deliberately misleading and ironic of all Blakes lyrics. The illustration from the second plate shows the little black boys idea of heaven, in which he and the English boy will be free of the shade or shadow of colour and will both equally enjoy Gods presence. In the illustration, though, in contrast to the boys words, the little white boy seems to have all of Gods attention, while the little black boy is once again off to the side looking on, in a secondary or serving position. The last two lines talk of a heaven where the boy is free of the shade of colour, that in heaven, where he and the English boy stand and stroke his silver hair / And be like him and he will love me. Does he mean God, or the little English boy, or both? And dont these lines present a picture of Gods love as conditional (he will love me when I am like him, i.e. white) rather than unconditional? And what of the fact that the illustration seems to contrast with the words of the poem the two boys seem to have different coloured skin even in heaven, and only the white b oy seems close enough to stroke Gods hair? The first plate illustrates the state of innocence, the second, of experience. The characteristics of the second plates drawings are found nowhere else in the Songs of Innocence. For example, the rooted tree and muddy water which is said to represent repression and mans fallen state respectively. The Christ figure, which has been identified as the Creeping Jesus, is the Christ of the church, of institutionalised religion. Some believe The Little Black Boy proves Blake to be a racist. Are we to infer that he thought the black or white race superior? Either inference can be forced out of the details of the picture and poem. The poem to most appears to be a simple piece, free from any anxiety or tension, that of innocence, but with further study one realises that it is indeed a complex work resistant to definite interpretation.