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I will not flirt with you. I love you too much for that, and I know this is a danger zone. For years now I have believed that honest, loving and deep relations were possible—known they were possible—between men and women who have permanent relationships elsewhere. But proceeding on that assumption, one takes on much difficulty and much responsibility.

I feel a responsibility to be very lucid, to demand that you too be very lucid. The letters hint at no physical relationship or developed affair. She also asked him not to chase after her so clearly:. We are both engaged in extraordinary marriages.

What we have to do, I think, is commit ourselves as best we can to each love, and acknowledge that there are as many loves as one needs, but that loyalty to one need not involve disloyalty to another. It was a few months after this sort of letter that the troubles with the stairs began. And increasingly Farber was a confidant more important to her than any other in her life.

Carruth, who had been in therapy himself, tried to warn Rich she was getting too close to the psychiatrist, but she did not listen. The arthritis continued to cause daily pain. Among the medical advice she was given were instructions to avoid the stairs whenever possible. Another operation was scheduled and performed in March , and another course of physical therapy began. Conrad was arrested for protesting a draft board, occupations at the college continued, and Rich began complaining of exhaustion.

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Her letters to Carruth got more and more abstract, especially when they touched on her conversations with Farber. But finally, when he once again seems to have brought up her attractions for him, she responded with a full-court feminist response:. Think of all that she has invested of herself in you, in your life together. Think of all that any bright, attractive, vital women invests in bourgeois marriage, in her husband and family.

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Her independence and autonomy are postponed or resigned altogether; her own spirit is almost continually being asked to take second place to the needs, the will, even the passing moods, of her man. During this time, she was distant from both her friend and her husband. Within two weeks Conrad had visited Carruth in Vermont, alone. In a Guardian interview in , Carruth recounted that Conrad had visited him in June to complain about their split.

The father, who leaves the boy, is contrasted with the anxious mother who goes in search of him, "pale" with sorrow and weeping though Blake may mean "weeping" to refer to the "little boy". God brings the child back to his mother. Attentive readers will see that she has no hope of finding the boy without God's help. Because she has been looking in the wrong place - the "lonely dale" a valley , while the boy has been in a marsh "mire" or "fen". Unless Blake means us to understand that the fen is in the valley - which is possible.

This is amplified by real-life reports of abductions and violence to children - and is one of the most profound and terrifying fears we ever face. For many readers, The Little Boy Lost will be far scarier than any conventional horror story or film. But they tell of profound and universal experiences or ideas. We worry about children who really get lost - and any young child has fears perhaps made stronger by parents' warnings of being lost or separated from mother or father.

The two poems thus form a narrative in two parts - being lost and being found. It also contrasts the way that human parents fail with God's power and love in caring for children. There is a very similar but much more detailed story in Chapter 7 of The Wind in the Willows "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" where little Portly the otter is lost but restored to his worried parents with the help of the animals' god, Pan. Blake does not use metaphors - where something in the poem represents some other thing, usually an abstraction, in a one-to-one way.

Rather he uses symbols - and leaves it to the reader to decide what they mean. So we may understand God in the poem as being more or less the same as in Genesis , or, very differently, as the divine element in good people who look after children. And we may see the poem as being about a real child getting lost in a fen, or about the way in which generally, we are unsure about the world and our place in it.

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The poems are very short - each has only two stanzas, and the pair together have a mere 16 lines. Although the narrative seems to be stripped down to its essentials, there is room for some suggestive details - so we read. With this poet, we can never quite be sure how far these things are intentional and how far they are simply suggested by the need for a rhyme - but it is wiser to suppose that Blake means exactly what he says or writes in the Songs of Innocence and Experience. Blake was regarded in his time as very strange, but many of his ideas make sense to the modern reader.

Manual The Argument: Poems of The Black Experience in The Workplace

When this poem was written it was most unusual for writers to show interest in wild animals. People did not have access to wildlife documentaries on television, as we do today: exotic animals might be seen in circuses and zoos, but tigers would be a rarity, perhaps turning up stuffed or as rugs this was to become very common in the 19th century.

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Just as today the tiger is a symbol of endangered wildlife, so for Blake, the animal is important as a symbol - but of what? One clue is to be found in the comparison with The Lamb see the next poem, and the fifth stanza of this one. Blake's images defy simple explanation: we cannot be certain what he wants us to think the tiger represents, but something of the majesty and power of God's creation in the natural world seems to be present.

Blake's spelling in the title The Tyger at once suggests the exotic or alien quality of the beast. The memorable opening couplet pair of rhyming lines points to the contrast of the dark "forest of the night" which suggests an unknown and hostile place and the intense "burning" brightness of the tiger's colouring: Blake writes here with a painter's eye.

Back to top The questions that follow are directed at the tiger, though they are as much questions for the reader. They are of the kind sometimes called rhetorical frequently used in public speaking, rhetoric in Greek because no answer is given. However, these are questions to which the answer is far from obvious. For example, the answer to the first question might be "God's" "immortal hand or eye" , but Blake is asking not so much "whose?

The idea that the tiger is made by someone with hands and eyes suggests the stories in the Biblical book of Genesis , where God walks in the Garden of Eden and shuts Noah in his ark. It is again the painter and engraver who observes the complexity of the tiger's markings in their "fearful symmetry". The sensitive human artist is awe-struck by the divine artistry.

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Blake asks where the fire in the tiger's eyes originates. It is as if some utterly daring person has seized this fire and given it to the tiger as, in Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to men. The poet is amazed at the complexity of the tiger's inner workings "the sinews of thy heart" , at the greater power that set the heart beating, and wonders how the animal's brain was forged: "What the hammer Back to top The penultimate last but one stanza takes us back to Genesis and the creation story there: on each of the six days He rested on the seventh God looked at His work and "saw that it was good".

God is represented as being pleased with His creation, but Blake wonders whether this can be true of the tiger. If so, it is not easy to see how the same creator should have made The Lamb. The poem appropriately ends, apparently with the same question with which it started, but the change of verb from "could" to "dare" makes it even more forceful. This poem is not so much about the tiger as it really is, or as a zoologist might present it to us; it is the Tyger, as it appears to the eye of the beholder. Blake imagines the tiger as the embodiment of God's power in creation: the animal is terrifying in its beauty, strength, complexity and vitality. In The Tyger Blake points to the contrast between these two animals: the tiger is fierce, active, predatory, while The Lamb is meek, vulnerable and harmless. In the first stanza Blake, as in The Tyger , asks questions, and these are again directed to the animal, although the reader has less difficulty guessing the answer, which the poet in any case gives in the second stanza. As well as becoming a child like the speaker of the poem Jesus became known as The Lamb of God: Jesus was crucified during the Feast of the Passover celebrating the Jews' escape from Egypt when lambs were slaughtered in the temple at Jerusalem.

This was believed to take away the sins of the people who took part in the feast. So when Jesus was killed, for the sins of all people, according to the Christian faith, He came to be called The Lamb of God.

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  • Although this is an image mainly of meekness and self-sacrifice, in the last book of the Bible Revelation Jesus appears as a Lamb with divine powers, who defeats the Anti-Christ and saves mankind. Blake's poem seems to be mainly about God's love shown in his care for The Lamb and the child and about the apparent paradox, that God became both child and Lamb in coming, as Jesus, into the world. Back to top The Tyger and The Lamb go well together, because in them, Blake examines different, almost opposite or contradictory, ideas about the natural world, its creatures and their Creator.

    How do you see the two animals depicted? What images do you find interesting, and what do they tell you? The collection, remember, was called Songs of Innocence and Experience Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul : explain how these poems show "contrary states". How, in these two poems, does Blake explore different ideas about God and nature?

    Which do you find more appealing if either and why? Both poems use simple rhymes and regular metre. Does this mean the ideas in the poems are simple, too? Give reasons for your answer. A useful exercise here as with all the poems is to present the poems either as Blake did this will require some research , or as you imagine he might have done. You could use this copy for familiarising yourself with the poems. You might like to use Blake's original spelling and punctuation your teacher should be able to give you a copy of this. In this poem and the two which follow it, a central metaphor explains a truth of human nature.