A comparison of the Use of Language between the Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence and Experience

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A comparison of the Use of Language between the Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence and Experience

Even though, a hundred and seventy nine years later, lying in his grave, William Blake is still one of the best influences in poetry and even daily life today. Blake’s work, unrecognised during his lifetime, but now is almost universally considered that of a genius. Northrop Frye, who undertook a study of Blake’s entire opus, ‘What is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English Language.’ Blake was born into a middle class family in 1757. The bible, being one of the most worshipped yet most feared artefacts in Blake’s time, was his biggest influence in his work, and was to
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‘Songs of innocence’ contains poems written from the perspective of children or written about them, children being a key meaning of innocence.

In ‘The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence’ the whole thing is basically a summary of Blake’s hates, Child Slavery, Death and the Dark Side of Religion. It also includes a lot of description of black imagery, black representing the soot. In stanza one, it tells us the story of when the child (who is telling us the poem) is brought into life, and sold off when he could barely cry, and brought up into a life full of poverty, and poor living. Blake ends the first stanza with a very harrowing way, ‘so your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.’ This line is supposed to make readers feel tense, as if to think, these children must have had a hard life.

In the second stanza, Blake describes a young boy in the name of Tom Dacre, about how he cried when he got his head shaved, his hair ‘curled like a lambs back.’ The fourth line, ‘“ Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for when your head’s bare, you know that soot can no longer spoil your white hair.”’ This gives out a sense of a childish like security, full of pure innocence, yet strong
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