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Explore Blake's Chimney Sweeper poems from the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience.

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Introduction

William Blake Essay Marc Rand In this essay I am going to explore Blake's Chimney Sweeper poems from the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience. During this essay I will cover Blake's life and times and the way chimney sweepers get treated around that time and what Blake attempts to do about it. Blake was born on November 28 in the year 1757. His parents where strict but understanding. Blake's parents realised early in his life that Blake was gifted. He had an extremely active imagination and he often got visions. At only four years old he claimed he had seen God in one of these visions. Another time when he was with one of his friends he envisaged angels filling a tree. He horridly told his family what he saw but the response he got from his father was quite negative. His father threatened to whip him because he believed it was time for him to grow up. However his mother took Blake's side and when she asked him about it he stated that the angels took the form of his thoughts. This vision was stuck with him and was extremely influential in his life. Blake obviously had a gift for seeing things with his eyes and in his imagination. He used his artwork to express his experiences. When Blake turned ten years of age his parents decided to enrol him into a drawing school. Later on in his life Blake used his talent as an artist to become a apprentice engraver. ...read more.

Middle

In the second stanza the audience is introduced to Tom Dacre, his hair is shaved off and Tom is very upset about this. Blake feels very strongly about the dehumanisation of people and shows this in his poems. Blake compares Tom to a lamb because a lamb is innocent like the chimney sweeps and is also a form of sacrificial animal so it is showing there inability to have there own personality and independence. "There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, That curl'd like a lamb's back, was shav'd" The final part of this stanza represents the pureness of Tom Dacre. The soot represents the master sweeps trying to make him impure but the white hair represents how innocent Tom is. The effect of this stanza is to bring across the innocents of the sweeps to the audience. "Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for when your heads bare, You know the soot cannot spoil your white hair." The third stanza is when Tom has a dream; in his dream he has visions of thousands of dead sweeps. The coffins of black represent a enclosed environment with dead sweeps covered in black soot. Blake involves the fact that thousands of chimney sweepers died to once again show the audience what really goes on. "That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack, Were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black." In Stanza four Tom Dacre is still in his dream and an Angel comes to set him free, this represents the chimney sweeps being liberated from their life of peril. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once again I think Blake had another meaning that poor people represented as the chimney sweep are happy and they smile in society. "They cloth'd me in the clothes of death, And taught me to sing the notes of woe." The parents of the chimney sweeper in this poem clothed there son and sentenced him to death when they decided to sell him to a master sweep. They made the boy cry when he had to leave and now he is alone and knows it. I think that Blake had another deeper meaning. I think the chimney sweeper represented poor people, they got clothed in the clothes of death by the chimney sweepers parents represented as the government. In the final stanza Blake goes on the attack at the church and the government he does this by provoking anger towards them through the unfairness of it all. "And because I am happy & dance and sing, They think they have done me no injury, In these lines Blake is how the chimney sweeper feels after his ordeal, putting on the front everything is ok when it is not. Going deeper into what Blake is trying to bring across is representation that the chimney sweep is the poor people again. The final two lines Blake attacks the church and the government, the chimney sweep is wise and is experienced and realises that the church and government exploit the poor so that they can make their own heaven out of the money from the society. And we gone to praise God & his Priest and King, Who make up a heaven of our misery" ...read more.

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