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The Norton Anthology of World Literature

Martin Puchner, the author of the book: Norton Anthology of World Literature, furnishes an overview of the poems from songs of innocence originally authored by William Blakes. Puchner states that Blakes began publishing Songs of Innocence in 1739 to experiment with his poetry’s style, theme, and use of symbols (Puchner 556–561). “The Lamb,” one of the famous Blake’s poems, gives a glance of a perfect world free from the threatening impact of selfishness or enviousness that attacks the mind of a person as he or she develops. The poem presents the theme of the susceptibility of innocence and the inadequate illusion of an innocent child.

The child’s perception is restricted because of a lack of understanding of the whole truth of the human ordeal. The poem is captioned with the clearness that becomes a child who is highly fascinated by glamour, innocence, and compassion. The child goes ahead to ask the lamb if it knows who its maker is. Surprisingly, he answers the question for himself. This poem’s essence is understandable enough as it is further apparent than physical. There is profound spiritual meaning that comes to be evident after the question is asked and the answer is provided. When the child answers that he and the lamb are both called by His name, it is revealed that all creatures are God’s creation. Innocence as a common trait between the child and lamb unites them with God (Puchner 564). The child’s chastity and the lamb’s mildness are but the embodiments of God’s innocence. The child holds no wicked emotion, nor does he act intentionally as the grown-ups polluted by experience behave.

Martin Puchner has also given a synopsis of the poems from the Songs of Experience. They primarily depict the conspiracy of people triggered by immoral societal pressures. “The Tyger” poem, for example, has a central theme of good versus evil. From Puchner’s perspective, he suggests that the Blakes’ tiger is symbolic by stating that “it signifies the evil and glamour. The wilderness of the night depicts anonymous challenges, the blacksmith symbolizes the maker, and the fearful symmetry exemplifies the presence of both good and evil” (Puchner 583). Blakes explores the fantastic proportion of the tiger, and he seems not to understand how the same God who made the harmless lamb could as well create the fierce tiger. He asserts that the tiger presents a problem, as everything about it appears to assimilate tension, threat, and monster. He seeks to know if God, why God chose to formulate such a terrifying creature, created the tiger. The poem portrays concerns about God’s rationales in creating the tiger, and it considers the likelihood of God not being the maker of the tiger. Blakes seeks to comprehend why God would create a creature that is likely to inflict harm.

However, by comparing the tiger’s terrifying nature to the gentleness of the lamb, Blakes suggests that both animals probably play crucial roles in God’s creation. By bestowing the tiger the exact level of likeness as the lamb, then it could mean that, without fear and peril, there could be no affection and contentment (Puchner 589). From Blake’s tiger’s illustration, the poem assesses the presence of evil in society.

Hedda Gabler Feels That She Has to Kill Herself

Hedda is scared of violating the laws and is torn between facing the civil humiliation of an inquiry regarding the pistol or the hidden embarrassment of a relationship with Judge Brack. Hedda is scared of scandals, so she contemplates committing suicide to escape them. This is evident as Henrik Ibsen states in act two, “Her main goal is to protect her name and to not let her personal life become public knowledge.” (Puchner 519). Moreover, Hedda hopes that by committing suicide, she would liberate herself from the Victoria-era moralities, stating that women could not work and take care of themselves. They had to be in a man’s care. Additionally, Hedda is optimistic that judge Brack would never engage in intercourse with her when she kills herself.

Hedda plots of committing suicide when she eventually comes to terms with her pregnancy as she has denied it in acts one and two. This is evident when she is irritated after revealing to George that she will have a baby. Additionally, she tells Judge Brack that she lacked a talent for such things as motherhood and was never responsible.

George Tesman’s Choice

George Tesman’s choice to support her wife after she embarrassed Auntie Julie displays ignorance. This is evident in act one when auntie Julie states that she bought the hat for Hedda so that she does not feel ashamed if they strode around the street together. Surprisingly, George reacts without apologies, but instead, he claimed that auntie Julie always thinks of everything. His mere adoration for Hedda has made him dazzle that he does not assess the harmful impact she is imposing on Auntie Julie. Additionally, Tesman’s choice to immerse himself in other people’s work shows that he is not creative compared to his rival Eliot, who has just published another book. He acknowledged this by stating that what he can do efficiently is reworking other people’s papers.

Hedda is a Manipulative Character

Hedda’s thirst to control people around her by faking friendship and giving a compassionate ear to them shows that she is manipulative. This is evident in act one when Mrs. Elvsted is reluctant to talk, but Hedda persuades her by reminding her of their school friends, and she finally gets Mrs. Elvsted to confess that she is not pleased with her husband. She comforts her, but when she discovers that Thea Elvsted has departed from her husband, Sheriff Elvsted, for Hedda’s former lover, Eilert Løvborg, she makes it her purpose to prove that she still has control over Løvborg.

Another incident that displays Hedda’s manipulative action is when Tesman makes it his goal to satisfy Hedda materialistically. Surprisingly, she is not moved despite him purchasing an expensive house to please trust that it will make her happy. His determination to please Hedda indirectly indicates her power in their marriage. What makes it difficult to satisfy her could be an outcome of Hedda’s high standards arising from being the General’s daughter.

Reasons for Hedda’s Marriage

She chose to marry Tesman because he meets her needs and might become a powerful man in the future. She also reveals that the best of her life was behind her, so a time to settle had arrived and she was prepared to accept the social values that she gets married. This is evident when she states in act two that Tesman is a capable, substantial man likely to attain the highest social status and that he was so prepared to support her compared to her friends.

Hedda is afraid of scandal

She seeks to maintain her respect and reputation in society. Her fear of scandals does not allow her to control her own life; instead, she attempts to manipulate others. Additionally, the social impacts of departing from George make her scared, and that is why she admires Thea’s courage to leave her husband for Eliot. Hedda’s reputation lies in her morality and honorable essence. She has always been careful to avoid falling into shame. This is evident as she had threatened to shoot Eliot when he became too intimate with her in the past.

However, as a wife to George, he must relinquish her necessities and be submissive. The infidelity of the domestic triangle nature implied by Judge Brack would cause more damage to Hedda than Brack. In the nineteenth century, a woman’s sexual virtue was the core of her identity.

Work Cited

Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature: Vol. 2. W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.


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