Blakeâ€™s â€œthe Chimney Sweeperâ€
Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper”
Publication of The Chimney Sweeper coincided with French and American revolutions which were the driving forces behind the age of Romanticism in English literature. Romantics are famous for raising the issues of the common people. Child labor in England reached its zenith when Blake wrote this poem. Orphan and poor children were forced to remove soot from the narrow tops of chimneys. Most of them died inside the chimneys or succumbed to fatal diseases which were the result of this killing job. Blake, like every Romantic litterateur, wrote for the political purposes and his audience is common man of England. This poem motivates a common citizen to raise voice against this evil practice of mass assassination of innocent young children.
Blake has used different rhetorical strategies in this six-quatrain poem to make his audience sympathetic towards the young chimney sweepers. The use of first-person pronoun ‘I’ disassociates the poet from the poem and a chimney sweeper becomes the narrator of the poem. In this way, first-hand experience of the job and life of a chimney sweeper is delivered to the audience. It is a dramatic monologue where narrative is told by single person. The first two lines reveal that the narrator was sold early after his mother’s death by his father to a Sweeper. The word ‘weep’ in the third line has pun on it, and its repetition shows the miserable state of the children working as sweepers. Blake uses actual human names like Tom Dacre, Dick, and Joe to materialize the issue and to familiarize his audience to the agonies of the sweepers. Blake uses imagery like “coffins of black” etcetera to stir the imagination of his audience. Similes and metaphors are also used to attract appeal the imagination of a British common citizen in the best way.
Text of The Chimney Sweeper shows that the poem is intended to inspire the common man to renounce those inhumane activities that are imposed by the elite over the fragile citizens and to stand for change. Blake’s text is witness itself that every word has been noted to encourage a common British citizen for change. Blake becomes a didactic poet while composing the last and concluding line of the poem, he encourages a common citizen to be loyal to his/her job to make his/her land prosper. He concludes the poem saying: “So if all do their duty they need not fear harm” (Poem Analysis, N.P).
"Analysis Of The Chimney Sweeper By William Blake." Poem Analysis. N. p., 2016. Web. 31 Oct. 2019.
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