Throughout The Chimney Sweeper, the young boy is characterized as an innocent child, unaware to his true situation. Blake sympathized with young boys working in the harsh conditions of being a chimney sweeper. By showing the young child’s complete obliviousness, Blake causes the readers to see into the life of a chimney sweeper. The boy in the poem is a very young child, not much older than seven or eight years old. It is made clear that the boy is merely a child multiple times throughout the poem. He tells us that he was sold into chimney sweeping before his “tongue could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!” Generally young children are the ones that have trouble with their pronunciation. We learn that the boy’s mother died when he was very young, further enhancing the sympathy towards the child. The speaker seems to be oblivious to the serious situation at hand. Although he mentions that his “father sold…” him at a very young age, he does not seem to have any anger or hatred towards his father. The boys are also characterized by Tom Dacre’s reaction to having his hair cut. He begins to cry while his head is shaved, a childish reaction. Tom is compared to a lamb in a simile. Lambs are commonly seen as symbols of purity. The thoughts and actions of the boys not only characterize themselves as pure, but characterize all children th...
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...ituation because he does not seem to understand it completely. Due to his innocence, he cannot understand what has put him in the position. The boy does not recognize that he is essentially a slave. The author, however, knows the true severity of the boy’s situation and is trying to change the situation of others like the boy.
Blake uses The Chimney Sweeper to advocate against the issue of children working to death as chimney sweepers. By contrasting the boy’s innocence and the severity of working as a chimney sweeper he displays the horrors of the situation. Later, Tom Dacre has a dream that contains two very different interpretations, one relating to their current life, the other, to the afterlife. Irony is also prevalent in the story to characterize the boys as innocent. All of these aspects of the poem come together to evoke pity for the children in the reader.
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- In the poem, “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake, the author attempts to educate the reader about the horrors experienced by young children who are forced into labor at an early age cleaning chimneys for the wealthy. The poem begins with a young boy who has lost his mother but has no time to properly grieve because his father has sold him into a life of filth and despair. The child weeps not only for the loss of his mother and his father’s betrayal, but also for the loss of his childhood and innocence.... [tags: social injustice, child labor, William Blake]
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