Research Proposal & Annotated Bibliography

In my paper, I will be discussing Marxism in a general sense and interpellation within a few poems of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. Initially, for this paper, I will start in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and how it affected child labor within Britain. The main focus of the paper’s foundation will be an interpretation of William Blake’s critique on Industrialism through Marxist theory upon child labor, abandonment, and orphan institutions. As such I will be discussing are the transitions between social constructs that limit the agency of children in the workforce and in a sense are adopt such ideas a circumstance that is given to them by life, instead of society. Therefore, the poems, “The Chimney Sweepers,” “The Little Boy Lost,” “The Little Boy Found,” and “Holy Thursday,” (plates 18-19, 22-23) emphasize thematically childhood and what social forms limit or engage the loss of innocence. By reading these poems with the iterations of Marxism, interpellation, social constructs, industrialism and child labor, within the poems, the reader is able to note the effects of these ideologies and how they affect the most vulnerable populations of the time: children. Most importantly, it is the focus of poor and abandoned children, who make part of the lower social class ladder. Ultimately, Blake’s poems serve as collective realism of children who were subjected to the industrial demand and bring attention to the social implications as well as reality to his time which are the unethical employments of poor children and the high mortality rate due to such employments.

  • Karla Garcia Barrera