December 5, 2011
The Chimney Sweeper
In William Blake’s poem, readers will read about child labor and slavery portrayed through a child. In the poem “The Chimney Sweeper”, a reader will find out several things that make this poem stand out and that lead the reader to the theme. Some things in this poem that will attract attention to Blake’s poem are imagery, diction, and theme. In William Blake’s poem, “The Chimney Sweeper”, Blake conveys the speaker as a generation of children having to suffer because their innocence due to slavery and child labor characterizing their use of words, imagery, opposites, and theme.
The use of diction in “The Chimney Sweeper” helps in understanding the poem. Blake expresses his poem as a young chimney sweeper. This gives his poetic voice creditability because the subject of the poem is chimney sweepers. Using first person creates a deeper sense of sympathy in the reader. The young boy, the poetic voice, lost his mother while he was very young. Soon as he lost his mother, his father sold him while his tongue could barely cry weep, weep, weep, weep. This sympathy allows the reader to realize not only how these children lived, but also how they felt and how they suffered as a child.
In lines 4 – 8 when Blake writes, “There’s little Tom, That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, so I said “Hush, Tom never mind it, for when your head’s bare You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.” The lines symbolize as faith in the biblical senses. Blake is saying, if the children make the sacrifice of living out their lives here on Earth, no matter how dark and how tuff their lives may seem at the time, they will be rewarded in heaven as long as they know the glory of God and trust in him.
History reveals that children usually began these lives at the age of 6 or 7 or even earlier. The job really hurt their small bodies, leaving them to die with deformed ankles, twisted kneecaps and...