Chimney Sweeper

Topics: Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Blake, Chimney sweep Pages: 3 (1198 words) Published: May 13, 2013
The Chimney Sweeper vs. The Chimney Sweeper
A great writer, or poet, will make their readers feel as if they are a part of their story. The reader will feel happy when the character is happy, or sad when the character is sad. This is achieved by various rhetorical strategies that writers use. Some of these strategies include imagery and word diction. Sometimes it is one sentence that really gets to the reader. Other times it is simply one word that can make the reader feel anything from warm to sad. In William Blake’s poem, “The Chimney Sweeper,” from Songs of Innocence, there is an important transition in which the reader’s sense of emotions change from negative feelings of darkness, death, and misery to positive emotions of happiness, hope, and salvation. This transition in emotions reflects the child’s innocence and oblivion to his victimization whereas in the same poem from Songs of Experience the child is aware that he is the victim and therefore only reveals feelings of bitterness and sarcasm. This contrast is important to my understanding of the Innocence poem because it reveals a softer and more innocent perspective than the poem of Experience does. In the first half of the poem Blake uses word diction that gives off negative connotations in order to illustrate the horrible conditions the young chimneysweepers live in. The chimneysweeper says, “And my father sold me while yet my tongue/Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!’" (2-3). Not only does the word “weep” clearly give off a sense of sadness and depression, but the fact that it is repeated four times puts an emphasis on the sadness that the chimneysweeper feels. The quote implies that the father sold his child at a very young age. As a result, the child was still too young to weep and therefore could not refuse to be sold. Another quote says, “So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep” (4). When one hears the word “sweep”, they are imagining dirt and filth being lifted off the...
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