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William Blake: a Marxist Before Marxism

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William Blake: a Marxist Before Marxism

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  • October 16, 2006
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In his poem, "The Chimney Sweeper", William Blake displays the despondent urban life of a young chimney sweeper during the coming of the industrial revolution in order to emphasize the theme of innocence through Marxism and to inform people of the harsh working conditions during the times of child labor promoting political reform. William Blake was born in London on November 28, 1757, to James and Catherine Blake. From early childhood, Blake spoke of having visions. He learned to read and write at home. Blake expressed a wish to become a painter, so his parents sent him to drawing school. Two years later, Blake began writing poetry. One of Blake's assignments as apprentice was to sketch the tombs at Westminster Abbey, exposing him to a variety of Gothic styles from which he would draw inspiration throughout his career. After his seven-year term ended, he studied briefly at the Royal Academy. He married an illiterate woman named Catherine Boucher. Blake taught her to read and to write, and also instructed her in draftsmanship. Later, she helped him print the illuminated poetry for which he is remembered today. Reviewers criticized his physical representation of spiritual happenings and supposed visions as a part of theological insolence, Blake's love for creativity and imagination updates his conception of a personal cosmology that supports both his lyric and visionary poetry. Blake's poetry reflected early proclamations of Marxist topics even though Marxism had not even been documented as a theory. In order to present the theme of innocence throughout the poem, the rhyming pattern of this poem is maintained in quatrain form allowing it to create a mood of innocence with the rhythm of a child-like song. Because the poem is being told from a child's perspective, Blake's diction remains rudimentary using words like "weep" (Blake) displaying the literary element known as onomatopoeia to convey a mood of unhappiness, and at the same time, bring sympathy to the reader...