The “Chimney Sweeper” Poems, both songs of innocence and songs of experience offer interesting insights into Blake’s thinking, which is evident even in the other two poems: “The Lamb” and “The Tyger.” These four poems together provide an overarching theme and what comes across as Blake’s beliefs regarding innocence and experience. Blake through his narrator in the innocence poem seems to suggest that there is nothing like absolute innocence, perhaps only a simple lack of experience. In cases where the party concerned has never had any experience of the injustices that exist in the world, or participated in any injustice, the individual similar to the narrator discussing experiences of viewing the injustices committed by the very church meant to help innocent children. The presumed innocent narrator (Angel) in the innocence poem seemingly provides an ironic and implicit view of innocence, which seemingly serves to reinforce the poet’s beliefs regarding innocence. Blake therefore, seems to suggest that over time, experiences serve to shape an individual from innocence to experience specifically the assertion comes across quite clearly in the second poem when the narrator claims that at some point despite his innocence they clothed him in clothes of death and taught him how to sing songs of woe. The second “Chimney Sweeper” poem on experience, attempts to demonstrate the corrupting power of experience, and how experiences one is subjected to can influence an individual’s innocence. Indeed the narrator claims that his parents were seemingly oblivious of the effects that their actions had on their child, despite the fact that they were a staunch Christian family that seriously observed religion. The child who also doubles up as a narrator seems to suggest that experiences whether intended or unintended lead to similar corrupt ends.
In “The Lamb” the author follows upon the link between knowledge and one’s innocence. By virtue of not even knowing who it’s creator is, the lamb comes across as an innocent being capable of no wrong whatsoever. Blake’s ideas on innocence therefore, come across quite clearly, as innocence is seemingly defined as the lack of experience or knowledge. Furthermore, Blake in this poem further perpetuates his beliefs that innocence and Christianity usually comes with meekness, peace and gentleness. In a way, Blake through his poems is simply attempting to highlight the hypocrisy and the fine line that may exist between innocence and experience, as well as how, even Christian values and faith cannot prevent perversion and a lack of innocence. The poem Tyger, further emphasizes this point, more so following the description of a tiger in a manner that is opposite that provided for the lamb, only for the narrator to question whether or not, both the Tyger and the Lamb were indeed created by the same supernatural being.
The four poems, all bring out the idea that innocence is not a permanent condition or situation, as experience seemingly corrupts this innocence. In fact, Blake seems to suggest that the innocence may not be readily available within the Christian faith, as it is easily corrupted, even if this corruption takes place by mistake and is unintended. Innocence is however important according to Blake’s poetry as it provides an opportunity for growth and development minus any attitudinal influences. Experience, although seemingly the opposite of innocence, is also equally important, as it ensures innocence is appreciated.