The Chimney Sweeper

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“The Chimney Sweeper”

In Williams Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Innocence the boy sees his situation through the eyes of innocence and does not understand the social injustice in his situation. “The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Experience the speaker sees his injustice of the child and speaks against the people that left him behind. The different views in one poem enlighten the different views in the other poem. The thoughts that are expressed in Innocence contrast the thoughts expressed in Experience and vice versa, which emphasizes the need for a balance of the two poems.

“The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Innocence gives you that sense of innocence when the speaker first introduces Tom Dacre and he is crying because his hair is getting cut off. The speaker says “Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for when your head’s bare/ You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair”(Blake 13), these two lines show that although Tom doesn’t agree with getting his hair cut, the speaker makes him realize the benefit in getting his hair cut that the soot won’t ruin his white hair. In this part of “The Chimney Sweeper” I think that Blake shows us that even though this was written in 1788 that we shouldn’t be bothered by the small things in life. “The Chimney Sweeper” also gives you a sense of spirituality as well when the speaker speaks of the dream that Tom Dacre.

And so he was quiet & that very night

As Tom was a sleeping, he had such a sight!

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack.

Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black

And by came an Angel who had a bright key

And he open’d the coffins & set them all free;

Then down a green plain leaping, and laughing, they run,

And wash in a river, and shine in the sun. (Blake 13)

In these two stanzas of the poem Blake is showing us that the Tom Dacre is dreaming that he and fellow chimney sweepers have died, and are in black coffins which the black coffins...
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