Journal Entry: Romantics
April 1, 2008
by his name.”
11-12; “The Chimney Sweeper”)
Can you take “The Little Black Boy” from
straight? Or is it ironic that his “soul is
white”? This about the racial hierarchies implied in the contrast between black and white.
Is the poem being “liberal” (the black boy is the white boy’s equal when both have left the
body behind), or is it racist (the boy’s black body is a “cloud”), or is it implying that the
black boy is better (he can bear the sunlight of God’s presence while the white boy is going
to get a bad sunburn)?
In “The Little Black Boy,” you have to recognize what the symbolism behind certain things
mean, it’s not completely straight, and there is meaning behind certain comparisons I noticed.
These comparisons between the black boy and white boy, the white soul, the clouds, this is not
meant to be ironic or racial, but instead is showing the different views of race, the earthly and
Godly views. Black was seen as bad and white as good, the way the black boy can understand
his pure soul is to understand it as equal to white because that is what he has been taught. And
the boy’s body as a cloud is not racist, it’s saying in the end, God does not see you for your color
or skin or how you look, it’s pure, selfless, never-ending love given to him because God loves
him. Finally, the black boy does not think he is better than the white boy, but when he is talking
to the white boy he believes he has been taught more about God and his love and has a stronger
understanding, and because he is a good person he is going to help the white boy prepare
himself for God, again, their bodies as clouds, they will no longer have skin color anyways, but
will be equally loved.
Compare the two “Holy Thursday” poems. Why would Blake choose this religious day as
opposed to others? Why are these poems so different, both in from (meter) and content?
What vision does Blake share of English childhood?
Just as the other comparative poems, the Holy Thursday poems show the world from a view that
sees the good and does not fully understand what the bad is, and the one from experience show
the wisdom those have gained in the years and how they can see this is a mockery dressing this
children so nicely and cleaning them up when it does not help. I believe Blake used Holy