How Does Blake Convey His Thoughts And Feelings About The Treatment Of The Children Of The Poor In The England Of His Day?

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How Does Blake Convey His Thoughts And Feelings About The Treatment Of The Children Of The Poor In The England Of His Day?

During Blake’s life, 1757-1827, many important changes in the world were happening.  In France, there was the French Revolution and in Britain there was the Industrial Revolution.  During these periods, life for poor children was abysmal.  Blake had very strong views concerning this and he conveyed this throughout his poetry and his engravings/artwork.  Blake wrote many poems that are famous all around the world.  In many of his poems, he displays many themes such as slavery and social injustice.  I am going to consider five poems and comment on the poetical techniques he uses.  These poems are: “The Little Black Boy”, “London”, “The Little Vagabond” and “The Chimney Sweeper” in both the ‘Songs Of Experience’ and the ‘Songs Of Innocence’.

In his poem “The Little Black Boy” he showed his feelings throughout.  This poem is very political because of the way he includes the slave trade in it.  This is because, when the poem was published in 1789 when Blake was aged 32, slavery in Britain was still legal and the campaign for it to be abolished was still starting up.  Blake questions the Christian religion about what it is actually doing to help children.  This is shown in the third stanza where Blake uses the sun to describe God and His Kingdom “look on the rising sun: there God does live,” which is not only a metaphor, but a deliberate pun.  “rising” implies that something is changing.  Blake believed in equality for all men and this is shown in the poem.  He plays on the traditional, yet racist, stereotypes of ‘black’ and ‘white’.  This is shown when he says “black, as if bereav’d of light” suggesting evil, dark and sinful whereas ‘white’ symbolising angelic, innocent, pure and rich, “my soul is white”, “silver hair”.  In the sixth stanza he yet again compares back and whites.  “When I from black and he from white cloud free,” compares black and whites in a metaphorical way.  He also uses clouds as if they are equally close to God and to show that everyone has an equal chance of going to heaven.  I believe Blake's overall message in this poem is that both black and white people are just the same despite their skin colour they are ‘the same on the inside’.

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“London” is one of his most famous pieces of poetry from his ‘Songs of Experience’.  It is written in the first person.  In the first stanza, Blake says, “charter’d street”.  This can be understood in a political and economical way.  This is because Blake perceived London as a place where there was a lack of freedom.  Also, his friend, Thomas Paine, thought that royalty was to blame for this because of their control of the trade in London's docks made it look like clock work on the, “charter’d Thames”.  All of these made life for children abysmal.  “I wander”. ...

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