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INFANT SORROW - Paraphrasing


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"Infant Sorrow" is a poem which comes from Blake's "Songs of experience"; this can be understood by the point of view of the "narration", which is that of one who has seen the world and 111i81b its corruption. It is made up of only two quatrains, and it has a regular rhyme scheme of coupled rhymes.


The poet is representing a fight against repression through the experience of an infant bound by a parental embrace, and yet thrown into the world so suddenly. The first lines represent his childbirth and the suffering of both of his parents, expecially the mother's. But as soon as the child is born, he feels lost in the big world around him, "like a fiend hid in a cloud", as the poet says; from the poet's words (helpless, piping loud) it almost seems like the child isn't happy of his birth, just like he already knows what is waiting for him outside.

In the second quatrain the poet expresses the struggling of the child, expecially through two symbols: the swadling bands and the father's hands, which symbolize the chains of repression which the infant is subdued to. In the end the protagonist decides to come back home to his mother's breast, which is the safest place to be.

Comparison w/ other poems:

In this poem there are two characters who appear also in "The Chimney Sweeper", another famous poem of Blake's: the father and the mother. Their role in these two poems is in the same time the opposite and the same: they both treat their child in a bad way, but the chimney sweeper's father is so cruel that he sells him, while the infant's one loves him too much and doesn't allow him to be free.


The language, as in most of Blake's poems, is clear and simple, though a couple of uncommon words are used, such as "swadling" and "fiend", whose meaning may be open to debate. The syntax is plain and easy to understand.


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