Essay on the Chimney Sweeper

938 words 4 pages
English 102-B12 LUO
Spring 2014
Joseph P Garland Jr L23810423

A literary analysis of “The Chimney Sweeper.”

Social Injustice was rampant among chimney sweeps in 18th and 19th Century England... In the poem “The Chimney Sweeper” from “Songs of Innocence” This paper will evaluate and show the story and writing style dealing with social injustice. 1. Introduction a. The Chimney Sweeper 2. The Location and Era a. 18th and 19th Century England 3. Point of View a. Tom Dacre 4. Writing Style A. Lack of Rhyme 5. Conclusion

William Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” from “Songs of Innocence” provides a view of extreme social injustice among children being used as chimney sweeps in 18th and 19th Century
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Also in the fourth stanza Tom makes a reference to wash in the river. From the very job of being a chimney sweeper the children already being in extreme poverty never received proper baths or hygiene. All of the stanzas so far have brought the reader along to be sympathetic to Tom and the other children’s plight.
In the fifth stanza Blake shows further in Tom’s dream where the children are naked and white which is another reference to purity and when they leave the bags behind in the stanza is a reference to leaving your earthly cares and troubles behind. But as the angel tells Tom to be a good boy, and if he does this he will have God as his father and would always have joy.
Blake delivers a knockout punch with that line. Is it really an angel telling Tom to be good or is it a reference to Tom and the other children’s task masters using this as a form of control over the children? Or can it be a reference to a religious belief that Blake had in his own belief system that good works will take one into Heaven?
The structure of the entire poems changes in the final stanza. It no longer rhymes. As the previous stanzas have. Blake does this to show finality it also shows the previous stanzas were a simple rhyme. Blake does this to bring us back from the dream world that Tom is experiencing to the very harsh reality of being a child chimney sweep. In Conclusion: Toms overwhelming desire to be loved by a family and live a normal lifestyle as a