A Poison Tree Essay

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Neil Heims is a writer and teacher living in Paris. In this essay, he argues that Blake deconstructs the meaning of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which appears in the story of the Fall in the book of Genesis, by his use of the apple tree, which appears as a symbol of hypocrisy and cruelty in “A Poison Tree.”

For Blake, intelligence—the faculty of seeing, knowing, and understanding—is a function of imagination. The word “imagination” has so weakened since Blake's time that its meaning has degenerated and the word is commonly used to represent the capacity for make-believe or for pretending that things that do not exist do exist. For Blake, however, imagination signifies the organic capability to perceive the realities of the spirit world, which the eye, because its capacity to see is limited to the natural, tangible world, cannot...

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This section contains 2,048 words
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Buy the A Poison Tree Study Guide
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