Analysis Of The Chimney Sweeper

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“Blake has the unpleasantness of great poetry” T.S. Elliott. There is undeniable truth to this remark particularly when Blake uses his poem to protest social oppression. Children of the 1800’s had few rights. Blake dedicated his work to giving maltreated children a voice which would lead to freedom. Blake’s modern stance on childhood and belief that children are articulate and should be valued in society shape his poetry. He utterly denounced the oppression of children and that is clear from his stylistic poems. In the poems “the chimney sweeper” from songs of innocence and then songs of experience and “the little lost boy” I found a recurring theme which critiqued the way society cared for its youth. In “the chimney sweeper” we are introduced to an orphaned labouring boy, stripped of dignity and a childhood. I found this poem to be the loudest protest of social oppression of Blake’s work. From the outset, the scene is set of a child who’s “father sold” him after the passing of his creator as if a motherless child was worthless. For the modern reader the future of this child is already incredibly bleak as he is stripped of every component of childhood. The repetitive and alliterative “weep” only echoes the depressive tone of the poem and the empathy felt by the western, new age reader towards this child. Blake utilizes the first three stanzas to demonstrate the harsh, hazardous conditions the young boys had to endure. The entire poem depicts an environment of continuous
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