Analysis Of William Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper"

1229 words - 5 pages

"The Chimney Sweeper" is a poem by William Blake about young children who are sent to work in mines in 18th century England. For this analysis, I examine William Blake's life with a concentration on the possible motives he may have had for writing this poem. I also analyze the poem itself and the message Blake was trying to convey.Analysis of William Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper""The Chimney Sweeper" is a poem about young children who are sold by their fathers to work in the mines. They have gruesome jobs, and the workdays are long. However, the boys make the most of it, and they do the job with hope, because God is going to protect them and give them a home in heaven.To properly look at London in 1757 to middle class parents. When Blake was a child, he saw visions of God and angels. This would be incorporated into his poems in later years, including "The Chimney Sweeper". His parents did not think he was normal, and kept him home for schooling. He learned to read and write, and then enrolled in an art school at age 10. His passion was for poetry however, and dropped out of the art school at age 14. He took an apprenticeship with an engraver. There he learned about Gothic styles that he could use for inspiration in his poetry.Blake got married in 1772 to Catherine Boucher. She was illiterate, so Blake taught her how to read and write. They decided not to have children; instead Blake spent time with her and the other members of his family, namely his brother Robert. However, he lost his brother in 1787. Still though, Blake believed that Robert's spirit would be in good hands, and even saw it rise up for joy. He also claimed that Robert's spirit visited him in later years.Blake lived the final years of his life in poverty after opening up a print shop that eventually failed. However, he was still able to pay off his debts, with the help of John Linnell, who gave him assignments to do, namely make illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. Blake died in 1827.Now we can look at "The Chimney Sweeper". The poem starts out with the father selling his son to the chimney sweeping business at a very young age after the mother dies. I can infer from this that the father needs the money and quite possibly is not capable of taking care of the child himself. The "'weep" can be how a young child pronounces sweep, but it also symbolizes how this makes the young child feel. The last line of the first verse states, "So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep". What I interpret this line as is "I do all of this work for you, and this is what I get in return?" The boy does all of the work, and he is treated poorly, maybe even as less than human. His father has abandoned him, and there is no one who cares for him.In the second verse we get to meet another boy in the same situation, Tom Dacre. Tom's hair gets shaved and he is in a state of depression about his whole situation. The author, also the boy in the first verse, tries to cheer him up. He says, ""Hush. Tom!...

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