Provide a brief analysis of two poems from Innocence and Experience that appear to have been designed to complement each other. How do the two perspectives differ, and what do you consider Blake's ultimate position to be?
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William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience exhibit what the poet terms the two contrary states of the human soul. In the Innocence poems the perspective is childlike in a literal sense, and each reading provides more insight into the human condition.
"The Chimney Sweeper" of the Innocence poems, Blake continues a theme illustrated in a previous poem, "The Little Black Boy": God will somehow take care of the innocent children. Little Tom Dacre has been sold to be a chimney sweeper and cries as his hair that "curl'd like a lamb's back" is shorn and he dreams of the "coffins of black" in which he must work. However, he and the other boys are set free by "an Angel who had a bright key."
In "The Chimney Sweeper" of the Experience poems demonstrates the naivete of the belief that God will somehow take care of the innocent children. In this poem it becomes apparent that a world of cruelty and misery do, indeed, co-exist, and the innocent are not always rescued from their misery. In the last two lines of the poem, the little chimney sweep's parents have gone to the church to pray and
Praise God & his Priest & King,
Who make up a heaven of our misery.
The two poems about chimney sweepers depict the innocent world of the child that comes into conflict with injustice and suffering who hopes for rescue by an angel, and its knowledge that accompanies experience as well as the impossibility of escape from this misery.
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