Chimney Sweeper Essay

1614 words - 7 pages

Poetry Essay, Thesis, and Outline of William Blake
“The Chimney Sweeper”

COURSE # and TITLE___ENGL 102 Literature and Composition_____

SEMESTER OF ENROLLMENT___Summer 2011____________

NAME__Tammy Boylan______________ID #__L23926585_

WRITING STYLE USED_____APA_____________________

In William Blakes, “The Chimney Sweeper”, this poem is told by a chimney sweep who tells of

a younger sweep that is sold into slavery by his father, after his mother dies. The main theme of

the poem is that of the loss of innocence of these children, who are depicted in the poem under

harsh and abusive treatment in the 1800’s. With their innocence stolen by their ...view middle of the document...

Smilie –

Lamb – innocence / White hair taken (line 5 & 6)

Hair (angelic) / Soot (sin) (line 8)

3. Symbols-

Coffins, color black, Angel, naked, river, green plain, bags,

bright key

4. Irony-

Happy & warm, fear no harm in their duties

4. Conclusion-

Conditional Dream of Hope given by Angel

In William Blake’s, “The Chimney Sweeper”, this poem is told by a chimney sweep who tells of

a younger sweep that is sold into slavery by his father, after his mother dies. The main theme of

the poem is that of the loss of innocence of these children, who are depicted in the poem under

harsh and abusive treatment in the 1800’s. With their innocence stolen by their parents and their

owners, these children were forced into confined areas filled with comb webs, and dirty sooty

conditions, where their lives were sacrificed to their life of cleaning these chimneys, of which

they died of young ages. The narrator tells of the young Tom Dacre’s dream of the only way out

of this life of misery, death.

In the first stanza we see Blake setting the stage with the family’s history, the mother dyeing

reveals that the nurturer and care taker of this boy was gone, having no protection the father sells

his young son into a life of misery, and slavery cleaning chimneys. This show that the family

was poor, and unable to care for this young man, even in his young years. Blake uses “weep”

instead of “sweep” to show the innocence of the child, this is a double meaning, showing that the

child could not say his s, but also that the child was sad, full of sorrow in his life as a chimney

sweep. In the first stanza, “So your chimney I sweep & in soot I sleep.” (4)

Here Blake gives a name “Tom Dacre” the young sweep that was sold into slavery by his father.

Tom has white hair (innocence) that the owner cuts (taking away his innocence) to keep from

getting full of soot, not so much to care for the boy but for his own conceivence. The narrator

reassures Tom in his loss, which it’s all around better for him so to not have to worry about

keeping it clean, it’s better. This is reassurance from another sweep that has the same treatment,

maybe he’s sharing from his own experience to this new comer. In this stanza Blake is

symbolizing, spirituality, by comparing Tom’s white hair (innocence) to the hair on a lamb’s

back. This lamb representates “Jesus”, the Lamb of God, and a symbol of innocence. This also

symbolizes Tom’s youth, in that he is not old enough for his hair to darken yet with age.

In the third stanza Blake turns is focus on more sweeps that just the narrator and Tom, in Tom’s

dream. “And so he was quiet, & that very night, As Tom was a sleeping he had such a

sight,” (9&10) The only...

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