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Explain what is happening in each of the following poems and compare

and contrast the different ways in which they deal with the theme of


The first poem ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti is a late romantic,

early Victorian sonnet, which is about someone who has passed away.

‘The chimney sweeper’ by William Blake, is written in 1740’s and is

about a young child chimney sweep and his plight.

‘Remember’ is written in the narrative voice so that it seems as if

the person who passed away is speaking. The poem talks about how the

deceased person has gone to a calmer, more peaceful place and how you

will no longer be able to touch or feel them again. ‘Gone far away…

hand.’ The first part of the poem is dark and mournful but because it

is a sonnet it allows for a more optimistic and comforting turn after

line eight. It tells people that there is a time for grief and a time

to move on but that they should not feel any guilt. Christina Rossetti

has written the poem so that it flows and sounds rather like a song.

The mood of the poem is sombre and she repeats the word ‘remember’

throughout the sonnet. This reminds the reader what the focus of the

poem is and gives it structure throughout it. It also emphasises the

meaning of the poem. The poem deals with the theme of sorrow in the

form of death. However it is not a dark poem and makes death not seem

that bad. She uses the sonnet form so that in line 9 there is a shift.

This creates a break in the poem. Up to line 9 the poem is about grief

and sadness but then it shifts and becomes more philosophical.

Christina Rossetti uses euphemistic language such as ‘darkness’ and

‘corruption’ to represent death. This creates depth and makes you

think about the poem. She also uses metaphors in her euphemistic

language such as ‘silent-land’, which represents Heaven. This poem

would be used at funerals because it is written in a way that suggests

the deceased person is talking.

‘The chimney sweeper’ is about a young boy who is sold as a chimney

sweep. The poem tells of his sad story. William Blake uses narrative

voice of a child so that it engages the reader. The rhyming in the

poem makes it sound like a child is talking. Blake is trying to show

the children as victims by showing how vulnerable and pathetic their

cries are. ‘Cry weep, weep, weep’ He uses couplets and verses to

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