The poem The little girl lost when summarized verbatim tells the story of a young girl who finds herself wandering into the jungle where she is lost. She is later picked up by a lion who ends up taking good care of her and at the same time protecting her from all the other animals of the forest. From a critical point of view, the poem illustrates a period of transformation from innocent childhood to the complicated ways of adulthood.
The lion in the poem is used to represent the evil people in the world and at the end of the poem, Lyca, the little girl and the lion are involved in an unlikely association but this is definitely symbolic. This is generally the case when children grow older and they begin to realize that there is a much bigger world outside what their parents have introduced them to.
At seven years old, Lyca is technically years away from her teenage but we can conclude that Blake used the figure just to represent the youth. Lyca’s parents are in a lot of anguish as a result of her disappearance and this could be representative of a teenage girl getting involved with the wrong company just to inflict pain to her parents.
The lion has been described as old and he is tempted to devour the little girl but after a few licks opts not to. This symbolism probably represents an older man who would like to take advantage of the rebellious young girl but cannot bring himself to do so. Instead, he ends up acting like a father-figure and protects the young girl from other men (leopards, tygers) with equally evil motives.
The poem The little girl found is generally a sequel to The little girl lost tells the story of Lyca’s dejected parent’s as they struggle to find her. Eventually, they spot the lion under whose care Lyca is. The sight of the lion instills fear into them and they stand motionless as he (the lion) approaches.
Lyca’s parents are, however, surprised when instead of the lion attacking them, it licks their hands in a friendly manner and gestures them to follow him to his cave they find little Lyca lying peacefully. The lion in this instance represents a guardian angel and him taking care of the little girl is used symbolically to illustrate that in this world no matter how challenging things maybe, there are some good people out there willing to give a helping hand.
Blake also used the lion to show that sometimes the people we would like to avoid are probably best suited to give us the help we need along the way.
At the end of the poem, Lyca and her parents choose to live in the wilderness and this illustrates the developing bonds of faith between individuals who would naturally not trust each other. By the lion taking good care of Lyca instead of taking advantage of her, he is able to establish his trustworthiness in the eyes of Lyca’s parents and this could be the prime motivator why the choose to stay.
It is almost as if the girls parent’s have come to the conclusion that the people who are thought to be most untrustworthy are the ones who end up being loyal and honest. There is some probability that back in the place where Lyca and her parents stayed there were some people who looked innocent on the outside but turned out to have ulterior motives. This affirms the saying that it is better the devil you know than the angel you don’t.
The two poems, that is, The little girl lost and The little girl found are essentially two parts of one story with the latter being a continuation of the former. The first poem brings the reader from the point where little Lyca finds herself lost in the jungle to the point where she is taken by a lion (in all its symbolic forms explained above) who ends up being her sole protection. The second poem traces the journey of Lyca’s parents who have to go through all sorts of challenges in their quest to find their daughter.
The story intersects with the final part of the first poem when the parents meet with the lion who shows them to his cave where the little girl sleeps peacefully. The two poems employ a lot of symbolism and imagery as has been detailed above. Unfortunately, the use of one thing to represent another has definitely ended up causing the poem to be taken with a lot of contention.
This is because in as much as the stylistic device gives the story more gist, to some extent readers cannot squarely identify the author’s original implication in the usage of a particular symbolic item. Readers of the poems are bound to come up with various interpretations of the two poems based on their personal understanding and as long as they can stand up to argumentatively defend their interpretations, even the author cannot be in a position to raise dispute.
Another stylistic device that has been used exhaustively in the two poems is rhyme. For instance in the first stanza of the poem The little girl lost, The lines “shall arise and seek” and “for her maker meek” have been rhymed at the ends. Likewise in the poem The little girl found, the opening lines “all the night in woe” and “Lyca’s parents go” rhyme. As a matter of fact every two lines of both poems have been rhymed together.
The two poems based on a personal understanding has two main themes. These are domestic squabbles between parents and rebellious children and proper human relations within society. The first them has been clearly presented with Lyca’s disappearance from her parents company and her parents’ struggle to find her.
The second theme has been illustrated from the angle of Lyca’s association with the lion as well as by her parent’s coming to an amicable understanding with the same lion to such an extent that they chose to stay in his company henceforth. A supporting theme illustrates the relationship between men and women in society, with the latter depending on the former for security.
This is presented in the way Lyca’s mother clings to her husband’s arm when the lion makes towards them. It is most likely that the man was also scared of the impending danger but gathered courage and stood there acting macho-like in defense of his wife. Lucky for him the lion happened to be friendly.