Chimney Sweeps Poem Analysis

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When one thinks of Chimney Sweeps, the first thing that often comes to mind is the romanticized version of them that the media holds today. Mainly due to Disney’s Mary Poppins, people think of young men who played in the soot and had a fun time goofing off and working cheerfully. Sadly, this is not the picture that history paints. Chimney Sweeps were young boys, often too young to even speak fully, who were forced to climb down chimneys - some of which would remain lit in the process, burning any hair that was not shaved off. They were permanently covered from head to toe in soot, and inhaling this toxin caused many of them to die very young. This cruel reality was seen as normal and, although many knew just how wrong it was, society turned a blind eye to the suffering…show more content…
Where the first poem was longer and full of imagery, the second poem is short and blunt. It was written in 1794, five years later, and is full of bitterness due to the lack of change in society. Chimney Sweeping is still popular. Children are still being worked to death. No one has listened to he softer plea, so now William Blake must take a more aggressive approach. His rhyme scheme changes after the first stanza - from the children’s story pattern of the first poem to a more jarring form - and he no longer tries to communicate with named characters and little stories. There is no more little Tom Dacre, only “A little black thing among the snow. (Blake 1)” There is no more figuratively corrupt Angel, only a very blunt “God and his Priest and King, Who make up a heaven of our misery. (Blake 11-12)” He directly calls out the church and parents who say they love the children, yet they force them to work hard and feel unloved all their painfully short lives. This is no longer a soft children’s poem meant to make the reader question; it is a loud proclamation that the blood of each child who dies a Chimney Sweep is on every silent person’s
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