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English Literature- The Clod and the Pebble

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by

Helen Li

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of English Literature- The Clod and the Pebble


Summary
Two different views on the nature of love.
The “Clod of Clay” : selfless and giving; building “a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
The “Pebble of the brook”: seeking “only Self to please” in order to eventually build “a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”
Structure
The poem is in three stanzas, each stanza with four lines
Rhyme scheme: ABAB
First and third stanza: speeches from two different personas
Second stanza: narration
Third line of the second stanza- immediate change in focus from the clod to the pebble.
The Clod and the Pebble are each given exactly half the poem, which is suggests that both the Clod and the Pebble have equally valid ideas.
There is repetition in the first and last stanzas. The words of the Clod are used by the Pebble, which shows a powerful comparison.
Love is personified through the Clod and the Pebble’s descriptions.
Stanza One
Introduces the clod’s optimistic and naive view of love.
Clod: soft and easily malleable- represents “soft love”.
The clod comments that “Love seeketh not Itself to please,/ Nor for itself hath any care”, suggesting that love must be unselfish.
The clod says “But for another gives its ease”, explaining how love is self-sacrificing.
Stanza Two
Metaphorical bridge between the clod and the pebble.
Shows the readers the environment of the clod and the pebble.
The clod “sang” his view on love, which is a connotation of how happy and joyful the Clod is despite being “trodden with cattles feet”- emphasising how naive and innocent it is.
Shifted from an innocent view of love towards an experienced view; the use of “But” presents a more dramatic change.
Suggesting that experience usually shatters innocent views.
“Pebble of a brook” suggests how the pebble’s point of view is more realistic, because water has the ability to reflect the reality.
Blake’s use of “warbled” suggests a quavering voice which could be because of the pebble’s sad view of reality.
Stanza Three
The last stanza ends with the pebble’s pessimistic view of love.
While the clod was represented as soft; the pebble is hard and immovable which indicates how the stiffness was gained from "experience" of love.
Highly sarcastic, mocking the clod’s innocent ideas.
Structure- resembles the clod’s verse, but the comments are in contrast to the clod’s.
The last line of the first stanza and the last line of the second stanzas: "And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair"; "And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite" are strong examples of paradox; and force the reader to see the two views as balanced.
The Clod and the Pebble
William Blake
28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827
English painter, poet and printmaker.
Largely unrecognised during his lifetime- now considered an influential figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age
strong nonconformist religious beliefs
William Blake
He hated oils - the paints used by most artists at that time - and he invents his own personal mythology to illustrate his mystical view of the universe. At the time, the art world regarded him as an abnormal person, perhaps even mad, but his reputation has grown enormously since his death.
William Blake's Paintings
It was claimed that William Blake saw visions of angels and saint, and spoke to the dead
He believed that Archangels were fans of his work
When Blake was 14, Blake's parents have originally selected a royal engraver called William Ryland to be Blake's mentor. But Blake told his father that the engraver was sure to be hanged as a criminal. His father took Blake's words to heart, and placed him with a different mentor- James Basire. Years later, Ryland was hanged as a forger
Interesting facts about William Blake
Full transcript