Can changing the mindset the poem is told from change the outlook of a poem? Can two poems with the same topic, written by the same author make you feel two very different ways? William Blake illustrated this to a perfection with the poems “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence and “The Chimney Sweeper” from the Songs of Experience. The two poems have the same concept, but are told from two different perspectives. One with an innocent view of the world and one from someone with the experience of the world. In his two poems he showed two sides of a human’s soul. Songs of Innocence contrast with Songs of Experience from the speaker of the poem to the tone it is told to the imagery each poem possess.
The speaker in “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence is innocent blind to the facts of the world. He knows so little about the world, “And my father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!” (Blake “Innocence”). The speaker doesn’t understand he has been given a false sense of reality and he assumes that his sorrow and sadness is an apart of everyday life. The speaker in this poem also introduces us to a friend, Tom Dacre. Tom has a dream which informs the reader about the fiction that the suffering in this world doesn’t last forever and that there is salvation in the next life. “And the Angel told Tom, if he 'd be a good boy. He 'd have God for his father & never want joy.” (Blake “Innocence”). Once they pass away they will be removed from this harsh life and will finally be free from sorrow. “And he open the coffins & set them all free.” By being young and innocent the speaker believes that he will be rewarded in the next life and that makes him and Tom ...
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...A perfect example of how we can’t always see the damage we have done and just because we cannot see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
“The Chimney Sweeper” from the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are reflections of each other. Both poems deal with a child forced to handle the cruel life of being a chimney sweeper. It also shows the contrary states of innocence and experience. In the case of “The Chimney Sweeper” it seems better to be an innocent child and remain optimistic about the world; however, it can be frightening because the innocent mind has no clue of understanding the world. The child with experience is able to see the world for what it truly is and that might be even more frightening. Just by changing the mindset of the poem, it gives you two very different poems. One the speaker, the tone, and the imagery are hopeful the other one is realistic.
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