Study Guide

The Lamb Innocence

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Innocence is definitely a theme in "The Lamb," right? The poem belongs to a collection called Songs of Innocence. But do we know what the concept of innocence really means according to Blake? Is it lack of guilt? Is it something that we have as children but lose as adults? Can we ever regain innocence? If you read the whole of the Songs of Innocence and Experience (which you really should do; it's not that long), you'll discover that the two ideas intertwine in many places. For example, children can live in the world of experience if they are poor chimney-sweeps working terrible hours and coughing all the time. But the child who narrates this poem clearly belongs to the world of innocence. He's pretty jazzed about everything around him, and he takes joy in natural creation. Just wait till he meets "The Tyger"

Questions About Innocence

  1. How does the use of personification contribute to innocence of the lamb?
  2. Why does the speaker talk directly to the lamb rather than just talking about it?
  3. What kinds of qualities are associated with innocence in this poem?
  4. What might a voice of "experience" have to say about the lamb?
  5. Do you think the question posed to the lamb, "Who made thee?", is profound or naïve?

Chew on This

The innocence ascribed to the lamb by the boy is really a culturally conditioned trait.

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