William Blake Was an English Essay

Pages: 2 (700 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature


He is described as a "little black thing among the snow," standing out from his surroundings. He has been forced into his position because his parents mistook his childish innocence as happiness, and "because [he] was happy upon the heath…They clothed [him] in the clothes of death, and taught [him] to sing the notes of woe" (46). Because his parents cannot see how unhappy he is and think that "because [he is] happy, & dance & sing/They think they have done [him] no injury" (46). Much like the poem in Songs of Innocence, the chimneysweeper cries out "weep, weep, in notes of woe," however he seems to imply that he should be pitied because knows the horrors to which he is subjected to. The chimneysweeper also notes the futility of prayer and reverence to "God & his priest & King/Who make up a heaven of our misery" (46). This may be a reference to how the Church and State profit from child labor, while praying to God feels futile as prayer does not allow them to escape from their present position. The "Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Experience has a darker tone and uses descriptors such as black, woe, death, and misery to describe the chimneysweeper. In this poem, religion and prayer are a foreign and external concept.

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Opposing viewpoints of the life of a chimneysweeper offer insight into the horrors of the job. Many children of the time were too young to know better, while others quickly learned the hidden horrors of the job. Blake's juxtaposition allows the reader to see how innocence can be corrupted allowing experience to overcome the ignorance which was previously present. The opposing descriptors allow the reader to understand how the job of a chimneysweeper changes the children's psyche and how they are left to cope with their situation.

Works Cited

TOPIC: Essay on William Blake Was an English Assignment

Blake, William. Blake's Poetry and Designs. Ed. Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1979. Print.

The William Blake Archive. Ed. Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi. 10

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