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The Lamb

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jaiwan81
Words 920
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“The Lamb”
JaJuan Jackson
English 102
16, June 2014

Thesis Statement and Outline

Thesis: “The Lamb” utilizes simple rhyming patterns, a child persona and symbolism to successfully teach children complex biblical truths at their level.

1. Author And Origin 1. William Blake’s Beliefs 2. Songs of the Innocencs i. Written for Children 2. Poems opening and structure 3. Rhetorical 4. Nursery rhyme ii. Trochee 3. Symbolism 5. Use of Capital letters 6. Jesus is called the Lamb Of God 4. Persona recognizes that he shares the qualities of Jesus 5. Close

William Blake’s poem “The Lamb” is a poem that is enriched with biblical truths. In order to understand and recognize the lessons within the poem, the reader must first know about the author and the collection of writings that the poem comes from. “The Lamb” utilizes simple rhyming patterns, a child persona and symbolism to successfully teach children complex biblical truths at their level. The author William Blake is known to be “a religious person who demonstrates his Christian beliefs within his literary work” (Bentley.1999. (Hacker, 2008) (King James Version )“The Lamb” is part of a collection of writings that is entitled “Songs of the Innocence.” This literary work is a collection of poems that was specifically written for children and contains several lessons within its content. The trochee like structure of these poems provides the reader with a nursery rhyme like quality that is suitable for it’s intended audience. The introductory poem that is found in this collection also gives the reader insight to its geared audience. The author utilizes symbolism throughout the body of the poem that is very familiar to the Christian faith to effectively teach the reader these biblical truths.
“The Lamb” begins stanza one with a question, “Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee” (lines 1-2). The question appears to be rhetorical in nature suggesting that the persona already knows the answer and seeks to provide a pearl of wisdom. Following this question is a series of questions that pertains to the provision of food and clothing and characteristics of the Lamb. With the use of imagination, one may picture a child talking to a stuffed animal or perhaps a farm animal that could not answer the child, which further suggests that the persona knows the answers to his questions and is teaching something. As the second stanza of the poem begins, the persona demonstrates that he has the answer to by saying “Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,” which he says twice.
The persona’s description of The Lamb gives the reader insight of its characteristics and true identity. The author uses words such as little, softest, and tender that provides the reader with a sense of innocence and purity. The capitalization of the words Little and Lamb appears to be in violation of English writing rules unless the reader takes into consideration the rule for capitalizing proper nouns (Hacker.2008). The repeat capitalization of these words suggests that it is intentional to provide the reader with the identity of The Lamb. The author also breaks this pattern in the line “I a child and thou a lamb”(line 17) here the word lamb is not capitalized suggesting that the Little Lamb is symbolic and is the subject of his lesson while lamb is referring to the literal character who is the auditor of the he is teaching. Within Christianity, the bible teaches that Jesus is referred to as The Lamb of God (John 1:23). In knowing that Jesus is considered The Lamb of God, one can clearly see why symbolic Lamb is capitalized as a proper noun. In stanza two the line “He became a little child” further solidifies the identity of The Lamb for the reader. The Christian doctrine teaches that Jesus became a child that was born of a virgin’s birth. The characteristics innocence and purity that the persona ascribes to The Lamb in stanza one and being meek and mild in stanza two also are also used to describe The Lamb of God.
As the persona continues in his lesson he teaches that he and the literal lamb are created in the same image of The Lamb. The two lines “He is called by thy name” and we are called by his name both show that the persona believes that he and the lamb are just like the symbolic Lamb. The persona suggests that he and the lamb are both innocent, pure and are precious creations within the great design of earth.
As the reader takes into consideration the Origin of the poem, its Author, the audience, structure, persona and symbolism, the lessons within the The Lamb are very clear. The author of the poem is very intentional in his use of Christian symbolism and the simplicity of a nursery rhyme to teach children biblical lessons that are central to the Christianity. He teaches the reader about how the creator became a child that was innocent and pure and how is creation shares in that purity and innocence which is different from other creatures within the great design.

Works Cited

Bentley, G. (1999). bibliography. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from blakearchive:

Blake, W. (1988). The Lamb. In D. E. Erdman, The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (p. 291). Anchor Books.

Hacker, D. (2008). Rules for Writers (6th Edition ed.). Arlington , Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

King James Version .Retrieved June 15, 2014, from Bible Gate Way .

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