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IN DEFENSE OF POETRY: “ A Poison Tree” by William Blake. Melissa Yang April 2008 AP Lit & Comp. The Life of William Blake. Born on November 28, 1757 English Poet, Painter, & Engraver Independent & self-taught Enrolled in Henry Par's drawing school Began writing poetry in early teens

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IN DEFENSE OF POETRY: “ A Poison Tree” by William Blake


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    1. IN DEFENSE OF POETRY:“A Poison Tree”by William Blake Melissa Yang April 2008 AP Lit & Comp

    2. The Life of William Blake • Born on November 28, 1757 • English Poet, Painter, & Engraver • Independent & self-taught • Enrolled in Henry Par's drawing school • Began writing poetry in early teens • Apprenticed for engraver James Basire for seven years • Married Catherine Boucher in 1783 • Most famous works Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) • Died on August 12, 1827 • Almost unknown in his time “Self-Portrait”

    3. Values & Influences • Had visions of angels, God, and other historical figures • Believed in the word of God (The Holy Bible) • Rejected the church and its conventional teachings • Deceased brother Robert—inspired the illuminations of books • Admired John Milton (Paradise Lost) • Inspired by Gothic art and architecture • Inspired by artists Raphael, Michelangelo, & Romano “Ancient of Days”

    4. (Continued) Values & Influences • Sympathized with the American and French Revolution and its ideals • Opposed the emotional repression advocated by Victorian society—meant loss of imagination • Believed that imagination was more important than reality: Imagination sees eternal things (spirit world) while the eye (reason) is limited • Concerned with how to free soul from reason and organized religion

    5. SONGS OF EXPERIENCE:A Poison Tree

    6. A Poison Tree I was angry with my friend:I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I water'd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with my smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright, And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine. And into my garden stole When the night had veil'd the pole; In the morning glad I see;My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree. Sunned: to expose to the sun Wiles: a trick meant to trap, fool, or deceive

    7. A Poison Tree: Tone I was angry with my friend:I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I water'd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with my smiles, And with soft deceitfulwiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright, And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine. And into my garden stole When the night had veil'd the pole; In the morning glad I see;My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree. • Cold • Bitter • Cunning • Relief • Pleased

    8. A Poison Tree: Poetic Devices Diction & Syntax Contrasts of a friend and foe emphasizes attitude Metaphor Wrath is a plant Symbolism Apple represents Sin I was angry with my friend:I told my wrath, my wrath did end.I was angry withmy foe:I told it not, my wrath didgrow. And I water'd it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with my smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright, And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine. And into my garden stoleWhen the night had veil'd the pole; In the morning glad I see;My foeoutstretch'd beneath the tree.

    9. A Poison Tree: Allusion • “Till it bore an apple bright” alludes to the forbidden fruit that grows on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis) • Fruit seems as if it would offer a world of good, but it brings a world of despair • Eating of the fruit--causes exile of Adam and Eve while the foe dies

    10. A Poison Tree: Interpretations What does this poem serve as? • A confessional (moral) OR a recipe for vengeance (immoral) • Shame and guilt OR pride and relief

    11. A Poison Tree: Theme • A gentle attitude is often a mask for anger • Pretending to be friendly and accepting when one is not “And I sunned it with my smiles, And with soft deceitfulwiles.” • The suppression of anger leads to the cultivation of anger • By burying anger, wrath becomes a seed that will only germinate • Wrath will grow into destruction and corruption due to nourishment of the “plant” and energy put into it • It’s better to expose anger than to hold it in “And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright,”

    12. A Poison Tree: An Exceptional Poem • Comprehension • Consist of Poetic/Literary Devices: Syntax, Diction, Metaphor, Symbolism, Allusion, Tone, etc. • Various Interpretations • Open-ended Themes

    13. Work Cited • http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Songs_of_Experience • http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/images/songsie.a.p46-49.300.jpg • http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sunned • http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wiles • http://courses.wcupa.edu/fletcher/britlitweb/lranieria.htm • http://mural.uv.es/majeviza/APoisonTree.html • http://www.answers.com/topic/a-poison-tree-poem-5 • http://mural.uv.es/majeviza/APoisonTree.html • ttp://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2900.html • http://www.english.uga.edu/wblake/SONGS/49/49bib.html • http://www.universalteacher.org.uk/poetry/blake.htm#tree • http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/pfs_0000_0024_0/pfs_0000_0024_0_00023.html#Themes