In Songs of Innocence, Blake integrates text and image to express his understanding of the dichotomy of Adam and Eve’s fall told in the book of Genesis. By representing trees and foliage around the poems themselves, Blake manipulates the evident theme of the text, undermining the establishment of any one conclusion. On the title page, the tree grows from the right side of the page, engulfing the words “Songs” and “of” while only circling the word “Innocence,” indicating there was a state of innocence before the Fall. In the opening poems,  however, the tree (assumed here to represent the biblical Tree of Knowledge) becomes less upright as on the title page and instead looms heavily over the figures—a physical reminder of the burden of knowledge and experience. In “The Little Black Boy,” two trees sprout from each side of the composition, so even as the mother comforts the worries of her enslaved son, the branches reach toward the pair, omnipresent and dark foreshadows of reality. By analyzing the progression of the foliage from the cover page onward in Songs of Innocence, one can see how Blake imagines the progression of experience—first from a visible temptation to an interactive and inescapable part of human existence.

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