Poetry Review: “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake

October 23, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the literary writing “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake, I assume that the reader could pick out several themes that the author placed in the poem. Throughout the poem Mr. Blake uses the tone, speaker, and diction to develop and support that theme. The theme I was able to derive was the child’s lack of innocence. Normally we see children as very innocent beings and are honest about their feelings and actions.

The children in this poem have had no childhood. They are forced to wake up before the sun comes up and clean and sweep the chimneys. The kids have been working at such a young age that they didn’t have a chance to be children and play like other kids. That alone states that their innocence has been taken from them. They are required to live a “black” life, covered in soot and are susceptible to a young death and short life. They run, jump, and play only in their dreams. That sets the theme as lack of innocence.

The tone in Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” has an irony that masks his innovative commitment. For example, in one part of this poem, there is an animated tone as the dream of the boy is described and the lines lightly rhyme,

“And by came an angel who had a bright key,

And he opened the coffins and set them all free;

Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,

And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.”(13-16)

The speaker of this poem is a young boy who was enslaved into the chimney-sweeping business when his mother died. His father sold him “while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry” (2, 3). He tells the story of another chimney sweeper, Tom Dacre, who cried when his hair was shaved to prevent soot from discoloring it.

The diction of this poem has simple, childlike diction. This is because of the child’s narration of the poem. In Blake’s writing, God is referred to in terms of praise, as a child is taught to believe that God will forever be his father. The narrator in the poem seems happy and calm. He is oblivious to the fact that they live as slaves and are doomed to die young before their time. The adolescent diction of the poem is a product of the innocence of the speakers.

In conclusion, we have discussed a great poem by William Blake. Unfortunately, at the time this was written there was a lot of slavery and child laborers. Blake did a great job of using the tone, speaker, and diction to set the theme.

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