Innocence & Experience In "The Clod & the Pebble"The Clod and the Pebble" represents two contrasting points of view between "a little clod of clay" and "a pebble of the brook". The poem expresses symbolic references towards innocence and experience with light and dark imagery. The two contrasting points of view on love are revealed through generous and unselfish tones in the first part and greedy and selfish tones in the second part. In the first stanza of the free verse poem, Blake uses the Clod of Clay to highlight the positive aspects of love. Through the eyes of the Clod, love is revealed to us as graceful, pure and everlasting.
The heavenly tone marks how elegant and passionate love can grow to become. In the third stanza, the pebble of the brook explains the negative visions that love is or will eventually become in future experiences. The pebble describes love as harsh and selfish by only considering what is best for itself and having no real concern for the individuals trapped in the addicted passion. The Pebble also reveals a negative and harsh tone through its conception that love will turn a sweet chocolate bitter and a mighty warrior frail.
The Clod of Clay symbolizes the soft, tender and innocent nature of love. It is easily formed and shaped into the figure that fits the given situation at hand. The Clod is flexible to change and tolerates an abundance of stress towards its soft form. The Clod represents how a relationship has to be in order to for love to work and the relationship last.
The relationship must be flexible to change and tolerant of imposed differences and changes over time. The Pebble symbolizes the rough, hard and stern nature of love. It is unable to bend, flex or compromise change in a relationship. It remains solid and closed minded with no optimistic vision to improve the relationship that exits. The Pebble represent the clearly unstable foundation of a loving relationship. A relationship that highlights the negative experiences and will surely never last.
Blake imposes vivid imagery to convey love's unselfishness. "Love seeketh not If self to please" in reference to the vision that Love is selfless and humble. Love in the Clod's eyes only seeks to please others and "not itself". The Clod "gives it's ease for another" in reference to the innocence is complemented by grace. The gentle nature love imposes upon the hearts of others is clam with "ease" and gracious in delight. The Clod also "builds a heaven in hells despair", which reveals an image where the passion and grace of love cleanses the soul of evil and purifies bad decisions.
The imagery in the 3rd stanza is more dark and deceitful. The Pebble views love as "seeketh only Self to please". This reveals the pebble's view of love being selfish as "Self" is capitalized to also signify that love consumes all life and emotion from everything. Love is also characterized as having "joys in another's loss of ease" referring to how insensitive and impenitent love is in the pebble's eyes. The Pebble closes the poem off with a counter action from the Clod by expressing that love "builds a Hell in Heaven's despite". This revealing that the pebble believes that love corrupts purity, trust, honesty, and true emotion.
Blake's revealing diction fine-tunes the poem's central meaning as the pebble uses "bind" in line 10 to express that love restrains an individual's ability to be open and free. And the Clod expressing the smooth nature of love that is an exciting and enjoyable feeling in which everyone should be able to experience. In contrasting the basic elements and points of view of the Clod and the Pebble, reveal to the reader that even a beautiful thing like love can also dramatically affect a persons emotions and life in general when the experience shows either the negative or positive aspects of love.