William Blake Poetry Themes

Essay by SolcitoHigh School, 12th grade June 2004

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The use of children is a prominent theme in William Blake's poems. He sees the world through the eyes of a child and embraces the innocence of the young. He illustrates this style in poems such as "the lamb", "the little black boy", and "the chimney sweeper".

The lamb really illustrates the innocence and purity of a young child. The boy questions the lamb as to where it came from and he expects the lamb to answer back, but it is obvious to the reader that the lamb cannot talk. As the boy receives no answer, he decides to tell the lamb where he came from "Little lamb, I'll tell thee". This situation really shows the child's innocence. The lamb is later referred to as Jesus, as the Lamb of God. The child says that the lamb, the child and Jesus are all the same. "He became a little child.

I, a child, and thou a lamb". What he does not understand, as he is an innocent child, is that the lamb will be sacrificed and that the child will die, just like Jesus did when he was sacrificed.

Another poem that illustrates the innocence of children is "The little black boy". The little boy has been told that being white is better than being black. Even though he is black on the outside, he believes he has the soul values as those of a white child. He thinks that white children are like angels and black ones are black because they are deprived of the light, as is shown in the line "And I' am black, but O! my soul is white; white as an angel is the English child, but I' am , as if bereav'd of light". The mother tries to console her son by...