Summary Of William Blake's Imagery In Songs Of Innocence

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Marked by progress in manufacturing and dismal working conditions for the lower class; the 18th century European Industrial Revolution was a paradoxical time. Unfortunately, history has proven that the weak and innocent are forsaken to promote the greater good. This aspect of the industrial revolution is evident in the existence of the chimney sweeps; a group of young boys who were sold into servitude by their parents. The children endured long work hours surrounded by the black ash and soot that would eventually take their young lives. Despite the existence of such an atrocity, the bitter lives of the chimney sweeps waged on. However, renowned poet, William Blake, uses his artistic gifts to not only acknowledge the pain and suffering of the chimney sweeps, but also express his shrewd disapproval of the conditions bestowed upon them. Blake’s use of irony In Songs of Innocence, Blake uses natural imagery to simultaneously convey childhood innocence, create biblical allusions, and criticize social institutions, which reveal the plight and exploitation of the speaker in the poem. The chimney sweeps are young and incapable of understanding the severity of their situation, which is why the natural imagery in the fifth stanza convey childhood innocence. “Then naked & white, all their bags left behind, / They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.” (lines 17-18). Tom’s dream has child-like elements that are reflective of his innocence. He imagines a world where he is cleansed

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