Analysis Of William Blake's The Chimney Sweeper

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George Norton’s 2014 analysis of William’s Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience focuses primarily on the two poems titled “The Chimney Sweeper”. In his response to the innocent version, he says that, “the boy explains that he was sold by his father after the death of his mother. The reader, too, becomes implicated in his exploitation: ‘So your chimneys I sweep’ (my italics), he declares, though the suggestion is Blake’s; the speaker seems unaware of his own degradation. Central to the poem is the dual contrast between the grim realities of the sweeps’ lives and the ecstatic vision of liberty contained in the dream of Tom Dacre, a new recruit to the gang.” I agree with this completely. Next in the poem, it discusses the new recruit, Tom, dreaming of things like angels and heaven, but in reality, their lives are grim, dangerous, and restricted. Norton also brings this up, but his opinion is pretty much that of the same. On this subject, he says, “Where, in reality, their lives are restricted, death-infected (the image of the black coffins), in the dream, they are free, leaping, running, sporting in the wind. The dream takes place in a pastoral idyll – ‘a green plain’ – where there is colour, light, pleasure and laughter; the real world is monochrome, dark, subject to the pressures of city life, and a capitalist economy where the boys can only weep over their degradation.” Next, Norton talks about the effect that the church has on the boys’ and their ideas and feelings
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