Essay, Research Paper: Clod And Pebble By Blake


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In William Blake’s “The Clod and the Pebble,” the Clod of Clay and the
Pebble have opposing views of love. The Clod sees love from an optimist’s view
while the Pebble sees love from a pessimist’s point of view. The Clod of Clay
sings his verse about love; “So sung the Clod of Clay” (347). This gives a
sense of jubilation. The idea of song is associated with happiness and glee.
This gives the impression that the Clod is happy and that the things of which he
is singing are also happy. The Clod of Clay is also described as “Trodden with
the cattle’s feet” (347). The Clod has been stepped on, though he does not
seem to mind. The Clod is very optimistic. He knows that his purpose is to be
stepped on. He doesn’t resent his place in the world. He can see past his
purpose and find meaning in his life beyond his job. The Clod’s song about
love says love is a wonderful and beautiful thing. He says “Love seeketh not
itself to please, / Nor for itself hath any care” (347). The Clod is saying
love is selfless. When a person is in love, he or she desires only to make his
partner happy. A person in love wants only the things that his partner desires.
The Clod sings, “But for another gives its ease” (347). This means someone
in love is willing and does give up his simple life of being alone and dealing
only with his own needs to share his life with the one he loves. When the Clod
says “And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair” (347) he means that love can
overcome anything. Love, in the midst of pain and suffering, can build a grand
palace of happiness and hope. The Pebble in the brook has a totally different
opinion of love. He sees love in the opposite way the Clod sees love. The pebble
warbles his verse about love, “But a Pebble in the brook / Warbled out these
metres met” (347). This means, in general, to sing, but it is more like a
yodel. This does not sound like the song of the Clod. It is not nearly as
jubilant. The Pebble lives in the brook. He lives in clear, fresh, moving water.
The Pebble enjoys a life that is more peaceful than the Clod’s. The Pebble,
though living a life of comfort, is a pessimist. He resents his place in the
world. He does not understand that being a pebble in a brook is his purpose in
life and is his position in the universe. The Pebbles warble about love says
love is a dismal and dreary thing. He says “Love seeketh only Self to please,
/ To bind another to its delight” (347). The Pebble is saying love is selfish.
When a person is in love, he or she desires only to be made happy by his
partner. A person in love is only looking for the ways in which his partner
could fulfill his desires. The Pebble warbles, “Joy in another’s loss of
ease” (347). This means someone in love expects his partner to give up her
simple life of being alone to share it with him. He expects to have an
undisturbed life. When the Pebble says “And builds a Hell in Heaven’s
Despite” (347), he means that love disturbs a peaceful life. He is saying that
love, in the midst of happiness and hope, brings pain and suffering. The Pebble
only sees how love can break hearts when they are so vulnerable. Love can make a
person helpless, weak, and powerless. The Clod of Clay is an optimist who sees
love as a wonderful thing that brings happiness and joy to a couple. The Pebble
is a pessimist who sees love as a dismal illusion that only brings heartache and

BibliographyBlake William. “The Clod and the Pebble.” The Conscious Reader. Caroline
Shrodes, et al. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998. 347
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