William Blake Songs of Innocence & Experience

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 140
  • Published: April 6, 2013
Read full document
Text Preview
“The Chimney Sweeper” Songs of Innocence & Experience analysis with, William Blake In 1794 William Blake’s work was known and published as a collection of poems that were put together as one book called Songs of innocence & Songs of Experience. In the collection Blake titles a poem, “The Chimney Sweeper”, and this one is viewed in two ways: Innocence and experience. In the book of innocence Blake shows how poor innocent children are being abused and mistreated during this time era. In Songs of innocence, “The Chimney Sweeper,” is about the way childhood youth is destroyed, taken away or ruined by selfish mean-spirited adults. Innocence to Blake was in a way not even in existence. He always believed that the world of one’s existence was always tainted by experience, from then on poisoned by the surroundings. “And so he was quiet; and that very night, As Tom was-a-sleeping, he had such a sight, - That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned and Jack, were all of them locked up in coffins of Black. (Line9-12) This part of the poem portrays the children who actually had their poor youthful more like youth-less lives lost due to harsh conditions that had to endure of their daily job during this time era. “Then naked and white, all their bags left behind, they rise upon clouds and sport in the wind; And the angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, He’d have God for his father, and never want Joy And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark And got with our bags and our brushes to work. Though the morning was cold. Tom was happy and warm; so if all do their duty they need not fear harm.”(Line 13-20) The last line means a lot and Blake shows that this child known as Tom has so much hope after having the dream about God. The text is saying that if one obeys God, has faith and trust in him we all know that heaven awaits us along with Joy, magic and unlimited happiness every day that day from on.

Songs of Experience is a sharp contrast from songs of innocence, however, a deeper analysis reveals that both actually complement one another. Songs of experience is what happens after the child does not believe in the promise stated from songs of innocence. “A little black thing among the snow, crying! ‘weep! Weep!’ in notes of woe! ‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’- They are both gone, up to the church to pray.” (Line1-4) The impression is of the contrast between his blackness and the whiteness of the snow, but also of the overwhelming dreariness of his situation. There is a repetition of the pun on 'weep, weep' from the earlier poem, but the comma seems to remove some of the childish repetition of the word, while the description of his cry as 'notes of woe' highlights the implication of misery. There is no suggestion this time that the sweeper is an orphan: his father and mother 'have both gone up to the church to pray.’(Line4) “Because I was happy upon the heath, And smiled among the winter's snow, They clothed me in the clothes of death, And taught me to sing the notes of woe.” (Line 5-8) In this context it seems the mood does seem to lighten and be a bit more uplifting but is soon changed after the reader tells that his parents pretty much dressed him in clothes of death. The parents have seemed to punish the child and the child has anger, animosity and hate towards his parents for placing him into such a state of sadness. “And because I am happy and dance and sing, They think they have done me no injury, And are gone to praise God and His priest and king, Who made up a heaven of our misery.” (Line9-12) His parents are clearly hypocrites for mistreating him so badly. Although they still see themselves as church-goers, as being moral and up-standing citizens. However, they are not his ideal target here. He suggests that it is 'because I am happy and dance and sing that they think they have done me no injury'.(Line9-10) While no excuse is offered for the church that they have run off to the parents may not be malicious; it is...
tracking img