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How does Blake use 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' to express his view on society of his day and its institutions? (such as Child Labour, Parenting, the Church and Education)

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Introduction

How does Blake use 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' to express his view on society of his day and its institutions? (such as Child Labour, Parenting, the Church and Education) The purpose of this essay is to explore Blake's views on society of his day and its institutions (such as Child Labour, Parenting, the Church and Education) expressed in his poems entitled 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience'. This essay will study how Blake uses mood, tone, structure, imagery and many other literary techniques to present his views on these institutions. William Blake was born on 28th November 1757 and grew up in London. The poems entitled 'Songs of Innocence' were written by Blake in 1789 and the poems entitled 'Songs of Experience' were written later in 1794. In the late 18th century, during the time that these poems were written, Britain was experiencing the end of the industrial revolution and the world was developing fast. Blake demonstrates his views in his collection of poems called 'Songs of Experience' and 'Songs of Innocence'. Children are born into the world of innocence, where they are allowed to be free and happy, and are also protected from the world of experience for as long as possible by their parents. ...read more.

Middle

Blake however was given 'freedom' to express his artistic desires, and therefore developed beliefs that most people in the city wouldn't have even considered. The Nurse, in contrast to the nurse in the Songs of Innocence, is shown as bitter and cruel. It is as if she is jealous of the children's youth. The line "Your spring and your day are wasted in play" portrays this idea. The Nurse in the 'Songs of Innocence' is like a symbol of society, who wishes to oppress the children. This poem also relates back to the issue of child labour, that in that time children were used in factories, and Blake rebelled against this and believed children are young and should be allowed to play. William Blake also had strong views on parenting. These views are expressed in the poems entitled 'Nurse's Song' and also the poems entitled 'The Chimney Sweeper'. In both of the 'Nurse's Song' poems, it is up to the Nurse to get the children away from danger. The fundamental question that should be asked is where are the parents? Blake's views on parenting are also shown in 'The Nurse's Song' in The Songs of Innocence where the Nurse delights in the children. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lines "How can a child, when fears annoy, / But droop his tender wing, / And forget his youthful spring" suggest that the schooling system is wearing away the child's precious childhood. At the end of the poem the poet goes on to describe how "When the blasts of winter appear" the child will be a beaten adult who, like the rest of society, will be unable to rise out of the poverty and sadness. In conclusion the collection of poems entitled 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' portray William Blake's views on society and its institutions. I have learned how Blake disagreed with the way that children were made to work in chimneys at a very young age, and rebelled against this in the poems entitled 'The Chimney Sweeper'. From analysing 'The School Boy' I have also learnt how Blake believed how school wore away children's childhood, and by taking away their joy and happiness they were not being prepared for later life, instead their individual qualities were being stripped. I have also learned how Blake didn't believe in The Church and how he disagreed with the way that The Church seemed to rule people's lives during his time. Eleanor Mottram ...read more.

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