In The Songs Of Innocence And Songs Of Experience Blake Conveys His

1316 words - 5 pages

In the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience Blake conveys his
thoughts and feelings about the treatment of the children of the poor

How does Blake convey his thoughts and feelings about the treatment of
children of the poor in England of his day? In your answer, either
make detailed use of one or two of his poems or range widely across
the songs.

In the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience Blake conveys his
thoughts and feelings about the treatment of the children of the poor
by displaying how these children are the products of exploitation, how
they are ill treated and ignored. Blake explains in his poems how
society do not recognise, or more probably, refuse to recognise the
abuse of children of the poor and would rather use them as victims in
this harsh evolving capitalist world. Through many of the poems
regarding children of the poor, Blake gives the children a voice. He
is trying to say: We are human - not only human, but also spiritual
and divine.

In The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence Blake presents children
of the poor who are not treated as if they are moral human beings, ‘And
my father sold me’, they are treated as if they are objects; ‘So your
chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep’. The narrator is not Blake
himself; the poem is in fact spoken through the words of a little boy
chimney sweeper, which allows the reader to feel closer and much more
sympathetic towards the little boy. The matter of fact language,
simple and childlike of the boy speaker explains why this poem that is
so clearly set in a world of harsh experience is actually in the Songs
of Innocence. The fact that the father sells the child, which may have
been and probably was an act of desperation shows how in Blake’s time,
parents were powerless from being able to protect their children from
threat - in some circumstances this could still be true to this day.
It is more likely that Blake here is suggesting that people are naive
and do not understand or even recognise the pain that children are
exposed to in what is considered a normal life for children of the
poor. In this poem Blake is trying to convey the obscenities of the
life of a poor child chimney sweep and in doing so trying to force the
reader to see that justice must be done.

Though the content of this poem is very much tragic and miserable,
ironically the story of the poem ends on a happy note; ‘So the morning
was cold, Tom was happy and warm.’ However, ironic is what Blake
intended it to be. Children are brainwashed into believing that this
is their path in life (to chimney sweep in this case) and would ‘have
God for his father and never want joy’ - as long as they do as they
are told and are good there will be better things for them to
come...in heaven. Though Blake does not criticise this innocence that
children hold in their view of God, he does present it as naive and
the moral we are left with, ‘so if all do their duty, they need...

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