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General Discussion Topic: Innocence and Experience

[ Edited ]
Two of Blake's most famous works are "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience." How do those works relate to the characters of Jem and Maggie?

Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for those who have finished or nearly finished Burning Bright.

Message Edited by Amanda_R on 05-09-2007 03:35 PM

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Innocence and Experience

[ Edited ]
It's obvious that Jem typifies innocence while Maggie typifies experience. What is interesting is that in the book, Blake has only written Songs of Innocence. I got the impression that he wrote Songs of Experience due to his meeting Jem & Maggie, observing them and their relationship with each other.

Spoiler for End of Book

I think it's interesting that Blake doesn't specify which book each child receives. Even they themselves aren't sure. I'd like to think they Blake intended them to start with their opposite in order to understand each other even better.

Message Edited by LizzieAnn on 05-09-200704:35 PM

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Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Re: Innocence and Experience

I'm not so sure it is so black and white as having Jem personify innocence while Maggie personifies experience. Maybe we are being led to believe this in the beginning, but one some level both are innocent and both are experienced at the beginning. Jem has lost a brother and seen his mother unravel. Maggie, while seeming a slick city girl, reminds me a bit of myself as a teenager: almost a pride in appearing experienced without having experienced much in fact herself. We get a hint at this pretty early on when she is elaborating on stories from the start.

Having read Blake's "Songs of Experience", the experiences described in those poems are darker than what Maggie is dealing with.

I've only read the beginning of the book and expect things to get much darker as their lives progress...
Tina S. Chang
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