The Chimney Sweep William Blake Analysis

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The dangers and widespread injustice of the chimney sweeping profession caught William Blake’s attention, causing him to compose two similar works titled, ‘The Chimney Sweep.’ The first belonged to the book ‘Songs of Innocence’ published 1789 and the second, to ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ published in 1793. Both poems show the joys of childhood innocence as the main subject. It highlights how childhood innocence was destroyed, taken away or ruined by adults. Blake saw innocence as a joke. It does not exist because it is tainted by the world of experience - chimney sweeping, death, poverty, etc. Even though Blake saw innocence being taken away, he portrayed his character in ‘The Chimney Sweep’ as one whose innocence influenced their…show more content…
George Norton, in his essay on Highlighting the Injustice and Brutality Suffered by Child Chimney Sweeps in the late 18th and 19th centuries states, “not only are the sweeps innocent victims of the cruellest exploration but they are associated with the smoke of industrialization, thus uniting two central Romantic preoccpations: childhood; and the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the natural world.” The social factors of the Romantic era were heavily influenced by the industrialization. Everyone was a victim of this change but those lower on the social hierarchy were affected most. For this, children were sold and had to labour; child labour. ‘The Chimney Sweep’ captures this injustice with rhythm and imagery, as a child sweep encourages another, “so if all do their duty...they need not fear harm.” Lev Vygotsky (1896- 1934) believed in the sociocultural theory. He believed that children learn actively when they are able to have the experience. The poem explicitly exhibits this theory; the narrator was sold into the world of sweeping chimneys and sleeping in soot before he had a fluent speech. He had learned to chimneys and even used this experience to encourage his fellow sweep
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