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In William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, many of the poems correlate in numerous aspects. For example, The Chimney Sweeper is a key poem in both collections that portrays the soul of a child

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Ashley Austell 15 September 2005 English 204 Honors The Chimney Sweeper in Innocence vs. The Chimney Sweeper in Experience In William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, many of the poems correlate in numerous aspects. For example, The Chimney Sweeper is a key poem in both collections that portrays the soul of a child with both a na�ve and experienced persona. Blake uses the aspects of religion, light versus dark imagery, and the usage of the chimney sweeper itself to convey the similarities and differences of the figure in both poems. The Chimney Sweeper is an excellent example of how William Blake incorporated religion into his poetic works. In Songs of Experience, the speaker states that "thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack, were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black." These lines are describing the main character Tom Dacre's dream during the night. ...read more.


The religious imagery is not so much as in Songs of Innocence, possibly because people tend to believe more religiously when innocence dominates terrible experiences. In the latter poem, however, the "little black thing" has been "clothed in the clothes of death" by his parents forcing him to become a chimney sweeper. His parents have "gone to praise God and his Priest and King, who make up a heaven of our misery" and the boy cannot understand this as he "sings the notes of woe" and not happiness. This chimney sweeper does not have the innocence and hopefulness of the chimney sweeper in Songs of Innocence. This child possesses experience of hardship and does not hold much faith in God and religion. This version of The Chimney Sweeper lacks the hopefulness and faith found in the former version although it is the same setting, factors, and occupation. ...read more.


The boy is much more knowledgeable of the current situations than other youth of his age, simply because of his profession. The portrayal of the "black thing" among the snow conveys that the chimney sweepers still possess their innocence despite the evil darkness of their surroundings. The remaining innocence is a similarity between the two poems, yet the experience of the latter chimney sweep supersedes the experience of the former chimney sweep. In conclusion, the reasoning behind William Blake's usage of the chimney sweep in itself is clear. The innocence of a young child is an idea that every person can easily relate to and sympathize with. The na�ve young boy can easily contrast with a youth that has experienced the devastation of the surroundings, although the innocence of the young chimney sweep would also mature into awareness eventually. Blake's usage of religion, light versus dark imagery, and the figure of the chimney sweep illustrate the ideas of innocence versus experience wonderfully. ...read more.

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