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Alexa Angela Cabotaje


ENG 101
Petrides
Literary Analysis
28 February 2016
The Child by Tiger
The writing, The Child by Tiger by Thomas Wolfe, was set in the early 1900s. Thomas
Wolfe writes about being aware of other others and of surroundings. Many of his writings were
centered around these ideas as he was influenced by other authors such as Ray Bradbury.
Thomas Wolfe was also influenced by the work of William Blake, specifically his poem Tyger.
Thomas Wolfe used William Blakes poem to help develop a tone, theme, symbolism, and
foreshadowing in his own story.
Thomas Wolfe and William Blake use a similar tone of fear in both of their works. In
Tyger by William Blake, he writes about someone creating a tiger and how the creation turned
out. When Blake writes Did he smile his work to see. Did he who make the lamb make thee
(Blake), he questions where it came from and if the creator is proud of what he or she made. In
The Child by Tiger, William Wolfe writes about people questioning where Dick Prosser came
from and who he was before he came to town. In Wolfes story, Dick Prosser is like the tiger. He
is a mysterious but fearsome creature whose origins are unknown but in question.
Besides tone being quite similar in both writings, another characteristic that is alike are
the themes. The themes in both are mysterious. In Tyger, the creature and its past are a
mystery. There are many questions asked but no one answers. Throughout the poem, the
questions become more and more refined. However, the author is also aware of the creation and
what it can do. The author knows that it is quite fearsome and wonder who can handle such

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beast. As for The Child by Tiger, Dick Prosser is questioned similarly. When Dick first comes
to town, the kids are in awe of the few facts they know of him. The kids see Dick as one thing in
the beginning but after news of his rampage makes way to the kids, they wonder who he really is
and what else he can do; this especially showed hen Wolfe writes What the hammer? What the
chain? No one ever knew. It was a mystery and a wonder (Wolfe 742). They no longer saw him
as an idol but now fear him. In this way, it shows that Wolfe used Blakes poem to help create his
own story.
Another similarly used characteristic in both works is symbolism. Blake refers to a
creator throughout his poem. In the first and last stanza of his poem he writes, What immortal
hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry? (Blake). In this quote, he is talking about a
higher being or someone in control. He also writes Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
(Blake). This shows that he is making another connection using the lamb to symbolize the good.
In Wolfes work, the character Dick Prosser is mentioned reading the Bible and going to church.
He is seen as a religious man but performs unreligious acts. Wolfes even adds a Bible verse to
his writing. The verse used refers to God as his shepherd and fearless because the Lord is with
him. The symbol in both writings are references to God or a higher being.
Finally, in The Child by Tiger and Tyger, there are many instances of foreshadowing.
In Tyger, Blake starts off by questioning where the creature came from and if the creator is
proud of what was created. He then goes off to mention the result of the creatures actions when
he writes When the stars threw down their spears, and watered heaven with their tears (Blake),
he connects the capabilities of the tiger with what eventually happened. Similarly, in The Child

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by Tiger, Wolfe foreshadows in many ways. In the story, it is mentioned that Dick Prosser has a
rifle that the kids find. Dick mentions how it was supposed to be a surprise, which relieves the
kids of their fear. Later in the story, the kids soon find out the surprise in his rampage. Another
instance of foreshadowing was the Bible reading. Wolfe writes Armageddon days acomin, white folks, an de dry bones in de valley (Wolfe 726). The foreshadows later events in
the story when Dick finds himself in a valley chased by white officers. The dry bones he
mentions refer to the bodies that Dick kills while he is there. These examples show how both
works use foreshadowing similarly.
In summation, due to the influence and ideas Thomas Wolfe acquired, he used William
Blakes work, Tyger to help him create the story The Child by Tiger. He uses a similar tone,
which is why they both have an alike story. They both have similar themes of being aware and
mysterious. Wolfe uses the Bible and God as a symbol in the same way Blake uses a higher
being or creator in his poem. Finally, also using foreshadowing similarly as well. For these
reasons, it shows that Thomas Wolfe used Tyger by William Blake as a structure or framework
for his story, The Child by Tiger.