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An Age Of Innocence

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An Age of Innocence

William Blake, (1757-1827), was a British poet, painter, and engraver, among many other things. He illustrated and printed his own books and even invented a method of printing both words and illustrations at the same time. One of the many things that he wrote is the poem entitled The Little Black Boy. The poem's speaker is a slave child from Africa, who tells a story of life lessons learned from his mother. In The Little Black Boy, two morals that the speaker implies are that the soul has no color or race and also that patience with life's trials and tribulations in the present will not only make one a stronger person, but will pay off in the end.

The first moral that is implied by the speaker in the poem is that the soul has no color or race. Underneath the skin everyone is the same. One of the first examples of this moral is when the speaker states, "And I am black, but O! my soul is white" (1). What the speaker is saying is that although he is black on the outside he is still the same as a white person on the inside. The speaker has the same soul as any white person's soul. Then, the speaker goes on to say, "And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face / Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove" (15-16). The speaker is saying that his black body is just a cover, and that cover is the only thing which separates him from God's divine love. However the speaker adds to this by stating, "When I from black and he from white cloud free, / And round the tent of God like lambs we joy" (23-24). When the speaker says, "...he from white cloud free" (23), he is saying that a white person's body is also like a cover, shielding them from God's divine love as well. Regardless of a person's race, everyone has to work trough their own cloud in order to achieve God's divine love. Once an individual's soul has left their body, upon reaching heaven they will be equal under the eyes of God regardless of race. Lastly, the speaker state, "And be like him, and he will then love me" (28). When the speaker's soul reaches heaven he will be equal with his English counterpart. Once his English counterpart sees that underneath it all their souls are the same he will love him as an equal. The speaker in the poem The Little Black Boy implies that regardless of color or race everyone has the same color soul.

The second moral that is implied by the speaker in the poem is that patience with life's trials and tribulations will make one a stronger person and pay off in the end. The first example in which this moral is implied is when the speaker states, "And we are put on earth a little space, / That we may learn to bear the beams of love" (13-14). The speaker is saying that in order to achieve the divine love of God, one has to prove themselves by bearing all the hardships that they face. A person's earthly life is only preparation for heaven.



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