The Chimney Sweeper Analysis

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In William Blake’s poem, the reader will read about child labor and slavery portrayed through a child. In the poem “The Chimney Sweeper”, a reader will also notice several things that make this poem stand out and that lead the reader to the theme. Some things in this poem that attract attention is Blake’s use of imagery, diction, and the overall theme. In William Blake’s poem, “The Chimney Sweeper”, Blake conveys the speaker as a generation of children deprived of their innocence due to slavery and child labor characterizing them through his use of words, imagery, opposites, and theme. All of these things contribute to a better understanding of the poem. The use of diction in “The Chimney Sweeper” helps in understanding the poem. In the first stanza Blake writes “And my father sold me while yet my tongue / could scarcely cry ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!” (3-4). The use of while yet my tongue is describing how young the child is, which is echoed by the child’s mispronunciation of the word sweep. Also, when Blake writes about “in soot I sleep” (4) gives a literal image of the child actually sleeping in soot or can be taken metaphorically that the child is not actually sleeping in soot but his living conditions are just as bad. When Blake writes “that curled like a lambs back” (6) he is trying to create a good visual of how much hair Tom has, and how upset he is that he has to have it shaved off, but in the next two lines “Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for when your head’s bare, / you know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.” (7-8) he is being told that it is okay and the speaker tries to help Tom see the good out of the situation. Throughout the entire poem diction plays an important role in fully understanding the poem. In addition to Blake’s play on words, imagery also played an important role throughout his poem. Most of the imagery is literal, like God, and

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