The Chimney Sweeper Essay

437 WordsMar 31, 20112 Pages
The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake are two poems that describe the life of two boys as chimney sweepers. They were both young orphans sold into the life of chimney sweeping. They describe their lives in first person and describe the horrors of chimney sweeping. The children were exploited for their size as well. Blake tries to show sympathy for the boys in the poems using both symbolism and irony in both. In the first poem, a young boy loses both his parents and becomes a chimney sweeper for money. The poem starts out depressing but goes into a sense of hope for the boy as you go into the poem. Blake throws in a lot of religious and biblical imagery throughout the poem. As he goes into the poem, the boy desbribes how he sleeps in soot and says that even though their job is bad now, they will be rewarded when they go to heaven. And in the end, "That thousands of sweepers, Were all of them locked up in coffins of black. And by came an Angel who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins and set them all free". In the second poem, another boy who also is an orphan describes his life as a chimney sweeper. In this poem however, there is nothing optomistic about it. The child seems angry with his life and everything around it. He describes himself putting on a false act of happiness while he's truely miserable. Blake makes the reader feel sympathetic for the boy throughout the poem and really goes into how horrible the life of chimney sweeping really was. Chimney sweeping was one of the first actual occupations besides prostitution, and a very important occupation. Before safety codes were made and technology advancements, chimney sweeping was incredibly dangerous. Many children were made chimney sweeps because of their small size so they could fit in small spaces. These children would end up dying at a very young age

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