As a social critic, he wrote many poems condemning the hypocrisy between these worlds, for example, “The Chimney Sweeper,” “London,” and “The Garden Of Love. ” In “London,” Blake reveals that this hypocrisy has robbed the world of innocence and spirit. In the first two lines, Blake repeats the word “chartered. ” He uses this repetition to stress the mechanical behavior of the world around him. The word “charter” has connotations of something that can be sold or hired for money. Blake is connecting this idea with the chartered rights of Englishmen given three hundred years ago by the rowan and never to be taken away.
By using the subject ? Street,? And the river ? Thames,? Blake is announcing to the world that this structural society has even corrupted nature. In the next two lines he comments on the beaten men of society: ?… Every face meet / Marks of weakness, marks of woe. ” This behavior is the thief of the individual’s innocence as the city of London represents what is manmade: “In every voice, in every ban, / the mind-fog manacles I hear”: Blake turns to the root of the problem in the next stanza as he brings the church and state into the poem.
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In literature, the church is usually expressed in white symbolizing purity and often in contrast with children. These two ideas form a double negative image symbolizing the church when Blake writes about the blackened Church. And the ‘Chimney sweeper’s cry. ” The state has turned her back on the people as the soldier’s sigh / Runs in blood down the Palace walls. ” The government, in essence, is imprisoning the children in this world of experience. The children have not had a choice given to them because everything has been mapped out for them: “In every cry of every Man, / In every Infant’s cry of fear.
Blake quite sarcastically critiques the moral code in London where they sell the children into prostitution: “How the youthful Harlot’s curse, blasts the new–born infant’s tear. ” The children can no longer have a sense of individuality because of the molestation and disease which have made them all alike. Through these institutions, society has murdered the souls and spirits Of the innocent. London only knows the tears Of sorrow rather than the tears of joy: “And blight with plagues the Marriage hearse. It was said that “to describe Flake’s intellect in a single sentence we should say hat a mind molded in the primeval intellectual world which gave rise to the Book of Job… Then launched into the meaner London life. . 13:164). Blake is a crusader for social equality. He only desires the injustice to cease which is the thought that prevails throughout the poem. In “The Garden of Love,” Blake criticizes the Church for being the instrument of decay on the souls of the youth. In the first two lines of the poem, Blake reveals that upon looking at the Church he sees something new: “l went to the garden of Love, / And saw what I never had seen. He then states that the Church has infringed on the youth, not in a well- rounded spiritual way, but in a harmful way: “A Chapel built in the midst, / Where I used to play on the green. ” Youth did not have any strings holding it back from enjoyment of pleasure. Blake is now explaining that the Church has invaded the innocent. The next stanza begins with the explanation that even if youth wanted to go in, ” the gates of this Chapel were shut. ” Therefore, youth turns away from the Chapel to go to the Garden of Love, where fond memories are in abundance symbolized by the “sweet flowers. In the next Stanza, Blake turns award the dark implication again as youth turns looks upon the Garden and ” it filled with graves. ” That line has such a strong emotional presence. Sees A child is trying to get in touch with his or her inner feeling. The reader can actually feel the whiplash of feelings this child must have felt when seeing this image of the garden being filled with death. Death is symbolizing the inadequacies of the Church during this time. What is most disturbing is that Blake was a renowned religious man: “Christianity was beautiful to him… Accepted even more because it satisfied his love of spiritual beauty. Alexander Gilchrest 1 3:164). The next line extends the violent imagery of death and decay as the . Tomb-stones where flowers should be. ” The last two lines complete the scene Blake is describing: “Priests in black robes / binding with briars my joys and desires. ” Pain has invaded the world of innocence where love was combined with experience and now a garden of death replaces it. Blake sought to expose the social problems and the immorality that were happening around him.
The church was filled with hypocrisy because these men “talked the talk but did not walk the walk. ” One critic explains, ? Flake’s poems appear the simplest in the world, but suddenly a deeper note, an allusion to hidden sufferings and wounds.. (Serenade 5:218). Blake is crying out to the world for justice, and as another critic writes, “He cried again and again… Nothing is unholy except things that do not live- lethargies, and cruelties, and dimidiates, and that denial of imagination .. 1311 78).
These two poems show the faults of the Church and state which Blake lived with during his life. In the poem, “The Chimney Sweeper,” Blake brings this all together in an undaunted attempt to be heard. His voice is that of a young whiney sweeper, and Flake’s message is clear, these children do not have society or religion on their side. All they have is each other. In the poem Blake talked about a child losing his mother when he was very young, and his father selling him: ? When my mother died I was very young / my father sold me.
In the next two lines, Blake uses the word “weep” to symbolize two meanings. The word can be taken literally as either the child is crying or it can be translated as if the child was so young he could not pronounce the word “sweep. ” The next stanza begins to reveal the purity within the child as he insoles another child: Hush, Tom! Never mind it, / the soot cannot soil your white hair. ‘”‘ In the next four lines, Blake writes about the dream this child is having: I’ . .Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight! Blake is describing Tom having a nightmare in which all the children are dead and “Were all of them locked up in coffins of black. ” Blake demonstrates his religious beliefs not in the Church, but in the spirit of religion. He describes an Angel who has the power to vanquish the children ‘s plight: an Angel who had a bright key, / he opened the coffins & set them free. ” Blake harkens back to his phrase of “a Rene plain” where the children would be ‘ . Leaping, laughing/ and shine in the sun. ” He has used this phrase before in other poems to symbolize heaven as he does in “The Chimney Sweeper. In the next stanza, the Angel from Heaven tells the boy ?.. -if he’d be a good boy, / he’d have God for his father. . ‘ Blake is explaining the word of God and that by following his word, the boy will find peace. This brings the reader to the last stanza in which Blake emphasizes his religious feelings: -we rose in the dark / morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm / do their duty, they need not fear harm. Blake wants to assure the reader that by following God’s advice and living without sin, a person will be awarded a better life in Heaven.
It is impossible to undermine Flake’s writings as those of a person who needs or wants recon action. One critic is quick to point out that “No man so poor and so obscure as Blake appeared in the eyes of his generation ever did more good works in a more noble and simple spirit”(Sinecure 5:300). Blake rose to the challenge to expose the social impurities of his generation. He explained in his writings that the families of these children were hypocrites cause they robbed the children of their childhood. The parents did not care for the children or their well-being.
They cared only for their own plight and not the pain or anguish they exposed to their children. A very popular expression today is “Just because you father a child does not make you a father, raising a child makes you a father. ” This idea of parenthood is one of the philosophies Blake is establishing with his poetry. The government was also hypocrite in nature because it sat back and even exploited the abuse. If someone does not speak out about the injustice, it is the same as agreeing with the injustice.