William Blake Infant Sorrow Analysis

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Children were soon believed to have a unique outlook on the world because they had not yet been socialised and forced to interpret things in the hegemonic way most adults did. This drastic change in the perception of children as separate from adults influenced such poets as William Blake to use children and the idea of childhood as the subject of their writing in an attempt to understand the innocence that they seemed to hold. In this essay I will aim to examine the centrality of the child in romantic poetry by looking at such poems as Infant Joy, Infant Sorrow and The Chimney Sweeper from both Songs of Innocence and Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake. Published in 1789 Songs of Innocence took the purity of children and the joys that…show more content…
Much unlike its counterpart Infant Joy the child in this poem is born far from innocent. The infant comes kicking and screaming from the womb explaining how his mother groaned and his father wept; according to Jeff Gillett this “sets the scene for a relationship built on mutual resentment” (Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow). Although the child is still very much central to Blake’s work we do also see a strong focus on the loss of innocence. Much like a child must give in to socialisation in order to become an adult the child in this poem gives up the struggle to be free when it submits to being fed: “Bound and weary I thought best/ To sulk upon my mother's breast.” (7-8).The child ends the narration of its own birth and we see that the infant has again taken a central role in Blake’s poetry as the only speaker of Infant Sorrow. Similar to Infant Sorrow the narrator of The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence is a child. During the eighteenth century it was common for young, poor or orphaned children to be employed as chimney sweeps because their size meant they could crawl into the narrow chimneys but also because they were very vulnerable. In this poem Blake draws attention to the stolen
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