Finding The True Meaning In William Blake’s “Holy Thursday

848 words - 3 pages

William Blake's main point in his poem "Holy Thursday" is that the innocent children of England are being used and exploited by the church to display its charity and assuage the guilt of the rich. These unfortunate children live in severe and abject poverty with no way out except by working themselves to death in England's child labor industries. The "parade" of these children to the church on Holy Thursday is a disguise of the abuse that these children suffer. It is a false display of charity presented by the church for the benefit of the church and the rich alike. It postures the children as recipients of the benign goodness of the church when in reality the appalling conditions under which the children have to suffer day in and day out is never addressed or alleviated by those directly or indirectly responsible for the children's well-being. These children have no way out of their predicament except by dying. The only thing the church is concerned about is staging its pretty charity show and deceiving the rest of the world to the truth of the children's plight. The rich only have concerns for the fact that their industries need the child labor these little ones can supply. The wealthy have no thought to the fact that these children, under deplorable working conditions, will draw their last breath of life in their factories and mines. To establish the fact that these children are truly exploited by the wealthy and used for the churches own agenda I wish to cite examples from William Blake's poem "Holy Thursday" to thoroughly substantiate this statement (51).Blake considers it an outrage that a country that is such a "rich and fruitful land" as England could allow its children to live and be treated in such a deplorable manner (l. 2). How can England be called "rich" when there are multitudes of poor children living there? In truth it seems ""¦ so many children poor?/It is a land of poverty!" (l. 7-8).These children live in a world bereft of sunlight, their lives so miserable they are in a state of "eternal winter" (l. 12). The holiness of the gathering of the children at St. Paul's Cathedral is in question "Is this a holy think to see/"¦Babes reduced to misery," (ll. 1-3). We see that there is nothing "holy" in the Holy...


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