Essay on the Chimney Sweeper

958 Words Feb 13th, 2014 4 Pages
English 102-B12 LUO
Spring 2014
Joseph P Garland Jr L23810423
MLA

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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Coal was king as a heating and cooking source at this period of English history and young children were the perfect size to service such small openings and required little to no wages.
In the second stanza we met little Tom Dacre who was experiencing trauma due to having his head shaved. Blake was equating Tom’s hair to lambs back which we can equate to a veiled reference of God, and this can also equate to purity. By Tom having his head shaved the effects of coal dust and soot cannot soil his hair. This equates to the purity of a child’s soul. Blake is able to affect the reader to develop sympathy for the children of that period.
In the third stanza Tom is in the midst of a dream that shows us many thousands of other young sweepers and all were locked in black coffins. Blake shows us the mortality rate of the children doing this kind of work in England. We can compare this to examples of young children being used in coal mining industry prior to the 1920’s in the United States, where the levels of death due to an illness known as “Black Lung” affected thousands of young children’s lungs due to coal dust. In the fourth stanza Blake guides the reader in this stanza to show Tom’s dream of freedom from oppression. How and angel with a key that was bright unlocked all the coffins thus leading the imprisoned children to liberation from social oppression. Blake then shows how Tom dreams of laughing and running which by the
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