In The Chimney Sweeper, William Blake uses innocent and accusatory tones to illustrate the truth and ignorance of the children’s role in society. Blake uses simplistic and allusive diction, as well as concrete imagery to convey the corruption of innocence experienced by both of the speakers in the poems. The poems reveal the injustice children felt at the hands of society and the children's blissful innocence under harsh conditions.
Some of William Blake’s poetry is categorized into collections called Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Blake explores almost opposite opinions about creation in his poems “The Lamb” and “The Tiger.” While the overarching concept is the same in both, he uses different subjects to portray different sides of creation; however, in the Innocence and Experience versions of “The Chimney Sweeper,” Blake uses some of the same words, rhyme schemes, and characters to talk about a single subject in opposite tones.
The Songs of Innocence poems first appeared in Blake’s 1784 novel, An Island in the Moon. In 1788, Blake began to compile in earnest, the collection of Songs of Innocence. And by 1789, this original volume of plates was complete. These poems are the products of the human mind in a state of innocence, imagination, and joy; natural euphoric feelings uninhibited or tainted by the outside world. Following the completion of the Songs of Innocence plates, Blake wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and it is through this dilemma of good and evil and the suffering that he witnesses on the streets of London, that he begins composing Songs of Experience. This second volume serves as a response to Songs of
The Romantic Period centered on creative imagination, nature, mythology, symbolism, feelings and intuition, freedom from laws, impulsiveness, simplistic language, personal experiences, democracy, and liberty, significant in various art forms including poetry. The development of the self and self-awareness became a major theme as the Romantic Period was seen as an unpredictable release of artistic energy, new found confidence, and creative power found in the writings of the Romantic poets Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley, who made a substantial impact on the world of poetry. Two of the Romantic poets, William Blake, and Percy Bysshe Shelley rebelled against convention and authority in search of personal, political and artistic freedom. Blake and Shelley attempted to liberate the subjugated people through the contrary state of human existence prevalent throughout their writings, including Blake’s “The Chimney Sweepers,” from “Songs of Innocence”, “London,” from “Songs of Experience” and Shelley’s A Song: “Men of England.”
William Blake thought the role of the child to be innocence. Witnessing two of his
Blake’s two poems are both told from a child’s point of view, which is different from many works and forces adult readers to realize the fault in society’s standards through the bleak eyes of the many unfortunate children.
Blake wanted to show that there are two sides to every situation by writing companion pieces for most of his works. “The Chimney Sweeper”, for example, has the same title in Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, as well as “Holy Thursday” that appears in both. “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are also paired poems contrasting the concept of good and evil that Blake focused on through out his poems.
These figures are the characters in many of his works. The role of Religion as a strong influence in Blake’s life was probably formed by the events he experienced during his upbringing. Blake came from a poor family and among other hardships witnessed the death of his older brother Robert at the relatively young age of 20. Robert’s death had a profound impact on Blake and after witnessing it he said that he saw his brother's soul "ascend heavenward clapping its hands for joy". The inspiration that William received from his brother death is an underlying theme in many of his works and most likely in his view of life as well. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are two of Blake’s collections that emphasize his ideas. Many of the things that affected Blake’s life as a child: poverty, struggle, loss, confusion, and faith can be seen in these works.
Through diction, figurative language and imagery, and syntax, William Blake conveys an intense and curious tone, revealing the doubt of whether or not human power was given by a higher being. The author, William Blake, uses connotation to make his audience understand what the true subject of the poem that he refers to is. For example, the word, “tyger,” in this poem is not specifying an actual tiger, but is used to represent humans. When Blake says, “thy fearful symmetry,” he is giving the tyger the characteristics of strength and power. Humans, as well, are strong and have the potential to create a big impact on the world, just as tigers do in the wild. Overall, the main focus of this poem is who the creator of the tyger is. This is supported with “And what shoulder, & what art/ Could twist the sinews of thy heart” and “On what wings dare he aspire.”
In the poems "The Lamb" and "The Tyger," William Blake uses symbolism, tone, and rhyme to advance the theme that God can create good and bad creatures. The poem "The Lamb" was in Blake's "Songs of Innocence," which was published in 1789. "The Tyger," in his "Songs of Experience," was published in 1794. In these contrasting poems he shows symbols of what he calls "the two contrary states of the human soul" (Shilstone 1).
As a forerunner to the free-love movement, late eighteenth century poet, engraver, and artist, William Blake (1757-1827), has clear sexual overtones in many of his poems, and he layers his work with sexual double entendres and symbolism. Within the discussion of sexuality in his work Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Blake seems to take a complicated view of women. His speakers use constructs of contraries, specifically innocence/ experience and male/female. Of the latter sex, he experiments with the passive (dependent, docile, virtuous) and active (independent, evil, a threat to the masculine) female subjects. Blake’s use of personification specifically of nature and botany suggest the use of nature to discuss human society. In Songs
William Blake was a painter, engraver and poet of the Romantic era, who lived and worked in London. Many of Blake’s famous poems reside in his published collection of poems titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience. This collection portrays the two different states of the human soul, good and evil. Many poems in the Songs of Innocence have a counterpart poem in the Songs of Experience. The poem “A Poison Tree” is found in the Songs of Experience and it delves into the mind of man tainted with sin and corruption that comes with experience. In a simple and creative style, the religious theology of the Fall of Man is brought to life. The poem tells the story of how man fell from a state of innocence to impurity, focusing on the harmful repercussions of suppressed anger. Blake utilities many literary devices to successfully characterizes anger as an antagonist with taunting power.
William Blake focused on biblical images in the majority of his poetry and prose. Much of his well-known work comes from the two compilations Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The poems in these compilations reflect Blake's metamorphosis in thought as he grew from innocent to experienced. An example of this metamorphosis is the two poems The Divine Image and A Divine Image. The former preceded the latter by one year.
“The Chimney Sweeper” (128): This version of the Chimney Sweeper is very upfront and saddening. The version that is presented in the songs of innocence is much more of a calm town and is not as straightforward, while this version is very short and to the point. In this version its very deep as the narrator basically just calls out the parents/church for doing these horrible things to the children. I really love all three stanzas of this poem because they all have a really deep meaning and Blake transitions through them very well. Reading this poem over and over I don’t know what to make of it other than it is an absolute horrible situation. I think it can be tied in to
The two poems that have to deal with the philosophies of human nature are William Blake’s “The Tyger” and Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” Blake’s poem is based off the Romantics and Walt Whitman is an American Naturalist that is based off free verse a form that he created.