Romantic Lit Romantic Notions in Blake's "The Essay

Total Length: 775 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

Page 1 of 3

Romantic Lit

Romantic notions in Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper"

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that occurred during the second half of the 18th century. During this time, a shift from previously established Enlightenment ideals to more natural, emotional, and personal themes was seen. Opposing forces within Romantic literature were Nature and the Self; Nature was seen as the source of goodness and it was through society and civilization that innocence of what was natural, and the natural order of things, was lost. One of the Romantic poets that best exemplified this concept was William Blake.

William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience can be used to demonstrate how society and civilization have corrupted the inherent innocence of children. In Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature, Veith (1990) writes that "civilization was seen as corrupting the natural innocence of human beings; more primitive societies are closer to nature and therefore morally superior to technically advanced societies." Furthermore Veith applies this concept to children because he considers them to be, in general, to be "born innocent and full of creative life" (p. 182).

In Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Blake is able to explore this concept through the two poems titled "The Chimney Sweeper;" "The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Innocence and "The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Experience are reflective of each other and depict how an innocent child may view the world and how a child that has become "experienced" may view the world.
"The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Innocence provides a hopeful outlook to the present situation that the young chimney sweep is experiencing. In the poem, the narrator feels as though the work they do serves a higher purpose and does not focus his attention on the negative aspects of the job. In the poem, the narrator's use of "weep, weep, weep" serves to help to demonstrate that the child is young enough to not be able to formulate his words correctly; alternately, the narrator uses the word "weep" to help draw attention to the deplorable environment and situation that the innocent child has found himself in. Moreover, Blake uses religious connotations and concepts to emphasize the innocence of the young chimneysweeper. For example, Tom Dacre is described as "white hair…that curl'd like a….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?