Literary Analysis of "The Chimney Sweeper" from Songs of Innocence

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  • Topic: Death, Hell, The Symbolic
  • Pages : 2 (693 words )
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  • Published : October 14, 2012
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Is Religion Man Made?
When you think of religion what do you think of? Are you a religious person? Do you not care much for religion? Have you ever thought of religion as an idea that the elites make up to suppress the people with horrible lives from revolting and do their job? This is what William Blake, author of “The Chimney Sweeper” in the Songs of Innocence, thinks of religion. This story shows how the symbolic order uses this idea of religion to keep the sweepers obedient.

In the story, the chimney sweepers work tirelessly and they are extremely poor. They are the scum of society and are rejected by all kinds of people. The symbolic order gives them the idea that if they are obedient and do not speak out against what society has put them through, then they will go to heaven and have a much better life than the life they have now. In the story one of the chimney sweepers has a dream that an angel comes to him and tells him that if he is obedient then he will be in heaven and meet God. “And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy; He'd have God for his father, and never want joy” (Blake). The angel represents the Symbolic Order telling the children to stay obedient so that they can go to heaven. Society, especially the authority figures, tells the children these things so that they just do their jobs without any troubles. The fact that this is a dream implies that this isn’t real and that the elites in society just make up religion to quite the masses.

The chimney sweepers use the ideas given to them by the Symbolic Order and use them to repress the fact that they have horrible lives. Instead of trying to get out of the situation they are in they just be obedient and do nothing more; this way they can meet God in heaven. “And so Tom awoke…Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm” (Blake). Even though Tom is just dreaming about going to heaven, he believes that he will if he is obedient. Instead of being miserable like normal, he is happy...
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