Blake – Songs of Innocence and Experience: the Chimney Sweeper

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William Blake: a man with ideas far ahead of his time, a dreamer, and had true poetic talent. Blake was an engraver, who wrote two groups of corresponding poems, namely The Songs of Experience, and The Songs of Innocence. Songs of Innocence was written originally as poems for children, but was later paired up with The Songs of Experience, which he wrote to highlight what he felt were society’s most prominent problems. This essay will be focusing on ‘The Chimney Sweeper.’
Firstly, I’ll look at The Chimney Sweeper from Innocence. The poem uses the ‘A A B B’ rhyming scheme, i.e. young, tongue, weep, sleep. This makes the poem sound good when it’s read aloud. It also flows better. This pattern continues throughout. The poem is about a chimney
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His parents are at the church to praise God, but the boy believes that God just creates misery for them, and his parents are blind to follow him. This could be a shot at The Church, which at the time was very corrupt, and was in fact ‘unchristian.’
The first poem is much longer, meaning that Blake had more to say on that particular subject. The poem from experience is much shorter, because he’s only making a small point about the hell of a heaven God had created. Both poems have the same rhyme scheme, so it’s like one is a continuation of the other, and that they’re both different sides of exactly the same thing, one being for The Church, promising a happy place to go after death, and banishing all worries, and the other saying that there is no hope, and that we’ll be left on our own, with no heaven.
The poems focus on a problem which Blake felt was a very important one. Blake believed that children were deprived of their childhood, by being forced into labour early, and were shunned by those with a ‘seen and not heard’ attitude. These children were little better than slaves, as they were traded and abused. Blake wanted children to enjoy what time they had as kids, and felt it wrong that such an important time in their lives was held back from them. The Chimney Sweeper (experience) supports this by showing that the child was crying in the snow, having been abandoned, and being forced to don the clothes of death (perhaps
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