Innocence And Experience Essay

1476 words - 6 pages

As a new way to criticize the Romantic period, desperate times call for desperate measures and it did through the use of children’s point of view in Romantic poetry. A period of fifty years called Romantic period included the French Revolution, the American Revolution and wars of national independence in Europe. William Blake, one of well known Romantic poets, commented on his society by viewing it through the child’s eyes in the two sets of ‘Songs of innocence and of Experience’. It is said that ignorance is a blessing but not according to William Blake.
Blake has another meaning to ‘Innocence’; He refers innocence to ignorance. This means that innocence is corrupted and full of naivety. It is the ignorance of corruption, of the real world order. It is not the state of being ignorant that William Blake hated but being stuck on that state is the problem. We are born innocent but we must lose this innocence and regain it to deserve it. It’s not about never fall but it’s about rising every time we fall. How do we lose our innocence? We lose it by ‘Experience’. What is ‘Experience’? It is getting out of our own understanding of the real world and seeing its true face. In a way, a child represents innocence; an unstained innocence seeing the world as a place of peace, love, forgiveness and ideal place where dreams come true. Soon the child will meet the real life and soon he will be stained, soon he will decide whether to rise or to fall. Life is full of deception and William Blake depicts the deception of religious system, social and politics. In his master piece Songs of Experience and of Innocence, William Blake uses the child to explore the world anew. From this perspective, he is able to speak about the world and expose its real identity whether implicitly or explicitly through rhetorical devices. Through poetic devices I will justify how William Blake discusses religious issues raised in the two versions of “The Chimney Sweeper” and political and social matters raised in the two versions of “Nurse’s Song” during the Romantic period.
First, the two versions of “The Chimney Sweeper” discuss serious problems about religious beliefs in 1800. Back in 1800, there have been misuses of church spiritual power to gain profits out of people’s misery. On the surface, the innocence version of “The Chimney Sweeper” tells of a young boy, who works as a chimney sweeper, get a visit in his dream by angel consoling and promising him God as a reward and an afterlife of freedom if he works and does not complain. The consolation is means to justify the end. The angel is saying what the boy needs to hear to send him back to his work happy. But underneath that mask lies a much deeper meaning. There is symbolism, the words “angel” and “God” symbolize to the church. The child is referred as a “lamb” to be sacrificed in the name of religion. Basically, if you follow church’s rules, obeyed the law and kept your mouth shut, you will be church’s most favorite slave....

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