Sunday, March 15, 2009
William Blake uses his literary skill to protest against the nobility, the church, and the mistreatment of children. He used his poetry as social commentary. In William Blake's "Chimney Sweeper" he writes about a child who is sold by his father to work as a chimney sweeper. He is sold so early he can't even fight or voice his opinion. He is like a slave. There are other boys in the poem like Tom. Tom dreams that all the boys are in coffins until an Angel comes and rescues them. He is told if he is good, he will have a better Father, God. So when the child wakes up he works hard so God will love him. This child believes in his dreams, which shows his innocense. It also speaks out against religion. The idea that someone is watching over the child makes the child work harder and give him a better outlook in life. Though he may be happier, his circumstances have not changed. But he believes in the fantastic, like all children do. In Blake's "The Garden of Love" he speaks about how a church was built where love used to be and flowers have been replaced with headstones. "Thou shalt not" has been written on the chapel doors. Blake sees religion as the cause of death, not life or love. He sees religion as a hindrance of all things that come natural to man. All the pleasures in life are denied to him. What joy is there in that? In "London" Blake speaks about how all the city's men, women, and children are crying out because of their current state of life in London. The chartered streets and river can be seen as the nobility taking over public domain. The soldier's blood on the palace walls is stating these men die for the upper classes. The prostitute spreads her diseases to men and the men spread them to their blushing brides. The city is in turmoil.