• 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...


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.


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.


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

    This poem uses symbols to show how people are restricted even from the moment they enter the world. Children are repressed and held back, not by society in this poem, but by the people closest to them, their parents. Blake speaks through the new born child and on the last

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

    The fact that his friends were in these coffins shows his fears, that he fears losing the only people he can love in his life. The coffins of Black could represent the fact that the whole poem, is about chimney sweepers, and the colour black is related to them.

  2. How does Blake use 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' to express his ...

    is the first thing the child says, when babies are supposedly born into pure innocence and should be happy. Instead these children are sold young and live a life of unfair labour. The The last line "So if they all do their duty, they need not fear harm" shows that

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

    This is true of many artists and poets who were never recognised for their talent until well after their death. In this essay I will be talking about a few poems both from the 'Songs of Innocence' and from the 'Songs of Experience'.

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

    When the sweeps had lost the use around the age of seven they get passed over to the church. Blake despised the serious health problems the sweeps got from this demanding life of threatening work. Most sweeps after only a short time of working in the chimneys end up with

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

    leads to a lot of boys dying at an early age and the idea of the boys being locked up in the coffins is symbolic of the children not being able to escape and get out of the profession because they have been sold to their employee in most cases

  2. What is blake saying about the two contrary states of the human soul in ...

    they could pay people less and lay workers off without the fear of them taking mass industrial action because people were so desperate for the money and would not have even have thought have taking such action. Over the years life got harder for the working class year by year

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