A line-by-line explication of Blake’s most famous poem, “The Tiger,” including an analysis of its structure, symbolism, themes, imagery, and stylistic aspects.
The four-page student handout section, which has blanks which your pupils can fill in, is suitable as an in-class activity or for homework. Specific activities on imagery and metaphor will give your students practice in these essential technical features of a poem.
For instance, the handout will ask them to transform Blake’s metaphor “burning bright” into a simile and then discuss why his metaphor is more effective.
An Answer Key is provided on separate sheets.
Not as part of the student handout are three pages of additional for-the-teacher notes on “The Tiger.” These provide information on the use of anthropomorphism in the poem, the accuracy of Blake’s use of physical aspects of real tigers, why Blake organized his poem around the eye, the heart, and the brain of the tiger, and biblical allusions in the poem.
I have also appended detailed discussions (with examples) of two literary terms: imagery and its five types and the difference between simple comparison and the literary terms, simile and metaphor. Some of these comments you may wish to incorporate into your class’s discussion of “The Tiger.”
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.