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The characteristic attitudes of romanticism include a deepened appreciation for the beauties of nature, a heightened look at human personality, and had an attraction to the childlike. Two authors that stood out to me the most from this genre are William Blake with "The Lamb", "The Tiger", and "The Chimney Sweeper"; and William Wordsworth's "The World Is To Much With Us." Blake's works from Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence highly reflects on childlike innocence and the importance of experience that is within each human being to balance us out to life. Wordsworth uses his depictions to show the lack of sensitivity and appreciation we have for the nature around us. Each of these authors created their writings to examine the human personality and open the world's eyes to the spiritual magic and beauty behind the blessing known as life.
William Blake uses his writing to express the importance of learning from the innocence of a child and the experience of an adult. He believed that people had a divine nature but are too caught up in the world around them to practice it and that God is within every human being. This spirit within everyone is seen through the eyes of an innocent child from his book of innocence in "The Lamb" and examined the human personality. "For he calls himself a Lamb/ He is meek & he is mild/ He became a child." This poem compares a lamb to a child and a child to God himself and in Blake's follow-up poem from Songs of Experience "The Tyger" is compared with the lamb. Blake uses colorful descriptions of a tiger as a fearful, powerful, experienced, and knowledgeable being that appear to be created by something evil yet they were both created by the hands of God. "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright/ In the forests of the night/ What immortal hand or eye/ Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" Both of these works describe two different views, that of an innocent child and that of an experienced tougher being that is able to see the negative or dangerous side of life. Most importantly these two works provide a sense of spiritual being that captivates the souls of its readers and inspires them to look deeper into their own personalities and lives.
William Blake uses descriptive writing and underlying meaning to influence the tone of his works. Both writings titled "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake represent the same two views of innocence and experience, but both poems are seen through the eyes of a child chimney sweeper. In these we see Blake's view that people happily subdue to a long life of labor. From Songs of Experience "The Chimney Sweeper" a child who is forced to labor after the early death of his parents shows his childlike innocence when he makes the remark to his friend about his hair; "Hush Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare/ You know that the soot cannot spoil your hair." Throughout this writing the child describes things to be happy about and seems ignorant to the horrible things going on in his life and "If all do their duty, they need not fear harm," plays on the fact that people appear to enjoy being enslaved to a life of hard labor. From Songs of Experience "The Chimney Sweeper" describes a child who has grown cold, bitter, and somewhat numb to the misery he calls life. When he talks about his parents abandoning him and sending him to work he says, "They clothed me in the clothes of death/ And taught me to sing the notes of woe." The child from the first version is hopeful, innocent, and oblivious to the woes of the world; while the second version shows a darker side of the human mind and heart. These two works combined create an inspirational vision to the audience to snap out of their everyday work routines and breath a new breathe of life full of dreams and use their experiences to guide themselves through growing and learning.
William Wordsworth looks at life from a purer perspective of innocence, nature. Much like the William Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper" Wordsworth's poem "The World Is Too Much with Us" he focuses on the struggle between modern day life and nature. He talks about how people lay wasting time "getting and spending", giving our hearts away, and carrying on with other frivolous material things. In one line, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers/ Little we see in Nature that is ours," solidifies the theme of this work. Wordsworth work reflects his dreams of a deeper communion with nature and a world where people let go of their follies and get in tune with their natural surroundings with an appreciation and understanding of it. He uses vivid descriptions from ancient texts to obtain the reader's attention such as " Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea/ Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn." Wordsworth feels mankind is ignoring their responsibility to nature and their divine spirit by becoming over-occupied with daily troubles and toils to a point where life and nature cannot be truly enjoyed.
The reoccurring themes of appreciation for nature, heightened interest in the childlike innocence, and a deeper look at the human personality are what make this genre unique. The work from this time represents the romanticized beauty of nature and William Blake introduces the idea of two different worlds that must be combined to live a complete and fulfilling life; that being his songs of innocence and experience. While Blake focuses on the way people view the world through their experiences and struggle through between innocence and "experience," William Wordsworth concentrates on a different battle. Wordsworth's battle is between the beauties, gifts, and divinity of nature versus the forces of modern day living. Both authors are writing about deeper appreciations for the forces of life, nature, and the human personality. Blake and Wordsworth truly embrace the themes of the romanticism era.