“A Poison Tree” Allusions Analysis

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A Poison Tree Allusions

Example



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Activity Overview


“A Poison Tree” makes a number of allusions to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, told in Chapter 3 of the book of Genesis. Understanding the connections between elements of Blake’s poem and the biblical story will help students read the poem on a deeper level. To guide their comprehension, students can set up a storyboard identifying elements of “A Poison Tree” that allude to the Genesis story. Below each storyboard depiction, students should explain the allusion’s connection to the poem’s message.

For a variation of this assignment, have students use storyboards to identify and explain the poem’s metaphors instead of its allusions. Students can depict the intended meaning of the following words and phrases: “waterd it in fears”, “sunned it with smiles”, “apple”, “apple tree”, “garden”.


“A Poison Tree” Allusions

Apple Tree

The tree that "bore an apple bright" calls to mind the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Its fruit, which God forbids Adam and Eve from eating, is traditionally referred to as an apple.


Speaker

The speaker who lures his enemy into the garden and tempts him to eat the apple is like the serpent in Eden. This suggests that the speaker’s anger has filled him with evil and led him to resemble the devil.


Foe

The speaker's foe is like Adam and Eve. Although they are helped by the serpent, they are still guilty of disobedience. The speaker's foe is not innocent either. He sneaks into the garden and eats the apple without permission.


Apple

In the poem, as in Genesis, the fruit represents sin and death. In both cases, the sin is the cause of death.




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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard illustrating different allusions in "A Poison Tree".

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify different allusions made in the text.
  3. Describe the meaning of the allusion in the description.
  4. Illustrate each example with appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.
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