The Chimney Sweeper By William Blake

1887 Words Dec 10th, 2014 8 Pages
William Blake, author of The Chimney Sweeper, gives the reader an uncomfortable feeling of the acceptance, and cruelty of child labor. With the use of anecdote, biblical allusions and a very sympathetic and retributive tone—Blake is able to transform the surreal idea of child labor into a visual reality. The poem revolves around a little boy, who the narrator describes as a “little black thing”, who is working as a sweeper in very poor and hopeless conditions. Through the voice of the child chimney, he is able to convey the poem not only as a story, but also as a wake-up call that they way these children were treated, was extremely immoral. The poem starts with the narrator making more of an observation than a description. The speaker sees a little black thing in the snow, and the little thing is crying out “weep! ‘weep!”. This use of imagery, calling—what the reader assumes is the chimney sweeper—a person a “thing”, really tells how insignificant this sweeper is, not even worthy of having a name. The little black thing is not only the chimney sweeper, but the reader can also confirm that the sweeper is a little boy. The image of the “black” boy—most likely black because he is covered in sooth—really makes the reader sympathize, and also picture the boy in the snow. The contrast between the boy and the snow really emphasizes the dark mood of the poem. Snow often symbolizes innocence and purity; this is especially true in this poem. A child always represents purity, but in…
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