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Sample text

IM 7, E 446) Suction functions in part as a mirror of Quid-Blake - even their words run together making it difficult to tell them apart - but several things clearly differentiate him as a younger brother. His name suggests his volatile oral character, and his impulsiveness contrasts with Milton's lack of feeling. If Milton's feelings are overcontrolled, Suction's lack control: 'do all by your feelings and never think at all about it' (IM 7, E 446). The differentiation between the brothers makes it possible to move from the theme of rivalry with the father to that of sibling-rivalry.

Such realism in depicting children in their essential ambivalence is rare in Blake. The lack of such realism may be explained in part by the strength of Blake's forces of denial. The Songs of Innocence, which grow from the songs in Island, show idealised children who are notably free of envy or anger against their often cruel fate. Blake becomes the champion of these 'good' children in Songs of Experience, reworking his own rage and envy in the larger context of legitimate protest against the exploitation of children which was all too frequent in eighteenth-century England.

It is this horror, as well as the sight of their blind and exiled father, that makes the sons finally accept their guilt. As Blake saw, a curse depends on guilt for its efficacy. Guilt evokes punishment; the sons prepare to die. Bentley's plate I showed Heuxos with his two brothers; here, Blake provides Tiriel with another son and five daughters. Next to Heuxos is the dark-bearded figure resembling Ijim who seems to replace the Bacchic son of plate I. The third, a smooth-haired figure, resembles the poet of plate I, as does a classic profile faintly drawn behind Heuxos's left shoulder.

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