The Chimney Sweeper Essay

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The 18th century was not only a dark and disturbing time socially, but it was a time period where the uneducated and poor were exploited for cheap labor. Many children during this period were taken in as cheap labor as every member of a family, despite age or education, was needed to contribute or the family would starve or become homeless. This was accepted due to a lack of regulation in the workforce but also employers could manipulate the wage prices of children as well as take in derelict children and make them work for just enough food to get by and nothing more. If the frequent injuries and falls due to unstable and tight chimney flues didn’t kill these young children they would most likely die from soot inhalation that would eventually inhibit cancer. William Blake’s,“ The Chimney Sweeper,” a short poem from his, “Song of Innocence” depicts what it was like growing up as a child worker in the 18th century and captures the dismal reality of becoming a child worker. As William Blake depicts throughout the poem, the life as a child working as a chimney sweep would be day in and day out of doing the incredibly unsafe and unhealthy job of climbing up chimneys and cleaning the soot out. As William Blake points out in the following lines: When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while my tongue, Could scarcely cry ‘weep weep weep weep.’(L. 1-3) Children not yet old enough to be able to correctly offer their sweeping services in the streets were sold and forced to work, many times due to the death of a family member who would have been able to provide income to the family. The working conditions for these children, to say the least is miserable; as stated in the poem, “So

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