Childhood in Robert Frost's Birchess and William Blake's The Chimney Sweeper

Childhood in Robert Frost's Birchess and William Blake's The Chimney Sweeper

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Childhood in Robert Frost's Birchess and William Blake's The Chimney Sweeper


Robert Frost's view of childhood is much different than that of William Blake, as expressed in their respective poems, "Birches" and "The Chimney Sweeper". Living in the late seventeenth century, Blake saw some hard times; and as such, paints a very non-romantic picture of childhood. Frost, however, sees things differently. The result is two glaringly different poems that goes to prove how very different people are.
Blake's portrayal of childhood is far from happy. A small child's mother dies while that child is still very young; this is sad but not all together strange. However the child's father then, very soon after, sells him off to be a chimney sweeper. Blake does not stop here; after a description these children's living conditions few emotions are left except for pity. As Americans living in the twenty first century, this all seams very strange. We see childhood as a time of joy, and innocence; a time to embrace, and to not let slip by too fast. We see childhood as Robert Frost does.

Childhood, a time of adventure; a time when the world is large and mysterious, and there is always more explore; a time when there is no wrong that could not be righted by a mother's kiss. This is the childhood described by Robert Frost. He describes this through a portrayal of the child's game of riding birches; a careful climb, a well timed jump, and an exhilarating swing. Then he describes the loss when one ages. How one by one this boy subdues the trees until there are none left to swing from. Frost then finishes off by showing his longing to return to those days.

How is it that two poems, written on the same theme, could be so incredibly d...


... middle of paper ...


...about an ideal childhood, or that of a friend; and Blake could have done likewise. However, because they both wrote about the childhood they experienced, this validates our other theories on time and location.

The difference between these two views of childhood are like night and day. One is a pleasant time, and the other is not. One is a time to hang on to, the other is a time to get passed. One is a time of joy, the other is one of hardship. Looking back on how my life has played out so far, I am glad that I should have the privilege of Frost's childhood, and not that of Blake; but one is by no means the norm and the other not. The primary factor causing the difference between Blake's and Frost's childhood was location, location in time and space. And, though as unfortunate as it may be, when the world is viewed in 4D Frost's childhood is hardly normal.

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