The Little Black Boy Essay, Research Paper
The Little Black Boy
The theme of guardianship, being the act of guarding, protecting, and taking care of another person, is very prominent in William Blake s The Little Black Boy . Three distinct instances of guardianship can be seen in Blake s poem. These guardianship roles begin with the little boy s mother, followed by God, and ultimately ending with the unsuspecting little black boy himself.
It is relatively easy to see the repression of blacks by whites in the way in which the little black boy speaks and conveys his thoughts. These racial thoughts almost immediately begin the poem, with the little black boy expressing that he is black as if bereaved of light, and the little English child is as white as an angel. The wonderful part of these verses is the fact that the little black boy knows that his soul is white, illustrating that he knows about God and His love.
In Blake s poem, it is very clear that the little black boy and his mother have a very close and affectionate relationship. The boy expresses how his mother sits with him under the shade of the tree and shares with him the love of God. The little black boy, being influenced by society during this time, believes that once his black skin passes away, then the English child will love him. In hopes of changing his view of himself and his skin color, the boy s mother tells him that there is an advantage to having black skin. The mother implies that black skin can bear more of the beams of God s love than the white skin. For when our souls have learn d the heat to bear, the cloud will vanish; we shall hear his voice, saying: Come out from the grove, my love and care, and round my golden tent like lambs rejoice. (Blake v.17-20). In telling her son this, the mother tries to express to him that God knows no color, and that one day God will call him just the same as he will call the white child.
Seen secondly in Blake s poem, is the guardianship role belonging to God. As taught by the little black boy s mother, God gives away His heat and light. This light and heat gives comfort in the morning and joy in the noon day. God is our ultimate guardian and the little black boy understands this very well. God will one-day call him, along with the English child to joy around His golden tent. This is very symbolic of God s love for His creation and His desire for us to be united as a people, under His sole guardianship.
The last and most unsuspecting role of guardianship belongs to the little black boy himself. It is clear from the little black boy s words that he is a very caring and loving boy and just wants to be accepted by the English child. The little black boy desires to shade the English child until he can bear God s love. Although the little black boy s mother taught him about God and His love, the child still thinks that the only way that the English child will love him is if he becomes like the English child. The little black boy s mother taught him that one-day his skin would pass away. Perhaps the little boy thought this to mean that he would become white when he died and went to heaven. Ultimately, the little black boy desires to shelter the English child and show him love, in hopes that the English boy would love him.
Blake does a very good job of establishing guardianship roles in his The Little Black Boy . Guardianship, as Blake displays, is not limited to adults. The most touching of the guardianship roles in this poem is the role of the little black boy. How sweet, and at the same time sad, for a young child to take on a role such as guardian.