• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Romanticism - Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Extended Written Task Poetry ? The Romantics ________________ The Romantic poets wrote about many political and social issues facing the era, mirroring the societal change of the 18th century with the industrial revolution. This time saw small towns become vast cities and cultural values shift away from ones which were traditional to those based upon greed and economic expansion. Not only could poetry provide a creative escape where the romantics were able to express their values on issues, it allowed for the redefinition and change of opinion to be recognised in time. This can be seen though William Blake?s poetry collections, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The two books contrast yet complement each other as together they create a more accurate, complete view of the situation. Found in both books, an example of this occurs with the poem, ?The Chimney Sweeper? using generic poetic conventions of rhyme as well as figurative language in forms of symbolism to create contrasting values. Rhyme in ?The Chimney Sweeper? places the important role of not only constructing the poem word by word but giving us an insight as to what state of mind Blake is trying to convey. ...read more.

Middle

They are again used here to symbolise the death, dirt and depression the children feel ?locked up in coffins of black?. The alliteration of the sharp consonant ?ck? sound also adds to the misery the colour and connotation to death made here. This dark language sharply contrasts the ?naked and white, all their bags left behind? whilst they ?wash in a river?. The symbolism of water from the river represents the cleanse of corruption which was held within the soot stained across their skin. The bags left behind also symbolise the rid of this strenuous labour, which demanded them to not only clean out chimneys but to carry in their bags their tools and everything that had collected so they could sleep ?in cellars on bags of soot they had swept? (Nurmi 17). The reference that Blake makes to the children being naked and white reflects the purity and vulnerability of childhood. The joys and carefree nature that Blake believes was an extremely important stage in the development of imagination that all children deserved. In the Songs of Experience the same colours are used with the ?little black thing? against the ?snow?. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Songs of Experience this criticism extends to the state ?God, his priest and King?. Blake recognises the significant potential the government could make in stopping these practises of child labour yet the government, church nor society are doing anything to help these children from their inevitable deaths they face so young. Blake therefore comments on the ills of his society through using poetry to place sympathy toward the children. The two poems together are a comment on the societal morals shifting to economic greed instead of traditional values. It also reflects upon the source of power in contemporary society for example it is not the one with faith, such as the little boy, but the ones with money and often cruel intentions. I believe that these two poems would be an accurate interpretation of the world as seen by children in the 18th century. As Blake had a special ability to connect to his childhood in order to roam his imagination whilst experiencing the issue from an adult?s standpoint and seeing the realities and consequences of such practises. Therefore once reading this poem you do believe that something should be done for these children and create change for the world in which they live. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Blake section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Blake essays

  1. How does William Blake portray children and childhood in his poetry? Discuss with references ...

    The are mean strict authority figured teachers, who only look after the children for the public eye, and so that they look like good holy people. I think Blake must have hated these people. They are only out to look good, but they don't really care about the poor children!

  2. Compare and Contrast 'The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence and Experience.' You Should ...

    Black is also a colour of fear, death and evil, this represents the life in the times of chimney sweepers.

  1. William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

    Here is a picture of a print that William Blake made of Infant Joy, using the copper plate printing techniques. This is the poem: 'I have no name; I am but two days old.' What shall I call thee? 'I happy am; Joy is my name.' Sweet joy befall thee!

  2. William Blake. To what extent are Blakes songs a critique of religion and 18th ...

    The poem suggests that childbirth is not always joyful and happy but can bring sorrow and pain. The response of the child itself may be different from that of the child in "Infant Joy" because of the behaviour of the parents.

  1. In William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, many of the poems ...

    These incidents bring into play the Christian idea that no matter how death came about or how impure the Earth may be, everything will be alright in heaven. All needs would be fulfilled, everything would be pure, and no one would ever desire anything.

  2. William Blake hated tyranny and celebrated liberty. Focusing on several poems from Songs of ...

    His love of liberty could have been a rebel reaction to society's enslaving "manacles". This is evident in his poems from Songs of Innocence. One in particular is the poem 'Spring' in which Blake expresses his feelings for the natural world and all that lies within it, particularly animals and young children.

  1. William Blake - Blake is angry and critical about the attitude and values of ...

    and are forced to do it - making their lives sad and miserable which is what the use of the word 'black' is probably meant to symbolise. The boy then goes out to work happily because he believes that his dream will come true and he will have a good

  2. William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience.

    If we discuss these poems further we can begin to see differences and similarities in both these poems. In the poem "The Tyger" Blake is asking, "what immortal hand" could create such a "fearful" creature, this is obviously indicating God.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work