The Chimney Sweeper and The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken and The Chimney Sweeper are both interesting pieces of work, which have similarities in their meaning, interpretations, and author’s experiences that shaped the writings. Of course, there are also differences in these areas as well. The meaning of each written work can vary widely from person to person. The Chimney Sweeper and The Road Not Taken can both be interpreted in several ways, including that of a loss of innocence. One reason for this interpretation in The Chimney Sweeper is that the speaker was sold at a young age by his father, to work as a chimney sweeper. Also, Tom Dacre dreamed of “thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack, were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black” (Blake, 1789/2007). “Though his [the speaker] few years seniority have given him a protective sense of responsibility, they have robbed him of little of his innocence” (Harrison, 1978). The speaker retells Tom’s dreams sincerely and reports on certain lines as if he believes them completely. ”Tom may weep more readily; Tom may dream of liberating angels more readily; but the speaker reports Tom’s visions as Tom told it to him, wholly without irony” (Harrison, 1978). The Road Not Taken can also be interpreted as telling about a loss of innocence although; it is more about how the choices made shape lives. Those choices, however, can lead to a loss of innocence. The choices not only affect the person that made the choice but also the people close to them including their spouse, children, parents, and siblings.”[Because,] in the poems stated intimation of the truth about human existence, as stated by Frost, is the idea of rut [the track carved out by wheels from the surface over which they travel] in its relationship to the ego” (Cervo, 1989). Each choice a person makes leads them down a different path and the effect of that choice could be a loss of innocence. “The poem’s persona is no “spiritual drifter”; the persona is an individual has opposed to a “loner’” courageous and self-reliant, searching for his destiny” (Bassett, 1981). It is in this way that the interpretations of both The Chimney Sweeper and The Road Not Taken are similar. The Road Not Taken is about the choices each of us makes in life and the direction each of those choices takes us. Each choice a person makes shapes who that person is and who they will become. Each path in The Road Not Taken represents a choice. Most people want to be individual and hope to make different choices from everyone else. The difficult thing about that is “ both that morning equally lay and leaves no step had trodden black” (Frost, 1915/2007) meaning, all paths or choices have been taken before. Each choice changes lives and leads to more choices. The Chimney Sweeper tells about the loss of innocence that happens to everyone. Normally, it happens slowly, over many years as a person grows to an adult. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes, circumstances or events cause the process to be sped up or slowed down. This seems to be the case in The Chimney Sweeper. The speaker seems to have experienced events that caused an early loss of innocence whereas; with Tom the process seems to be about normal. “There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, that curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved” (Blake, 1789/2007). Both the speaker and Tom are children that have been made to work as chimney sweepers. Each poet has different life experiences and those experiences shaped their writings. Surely, William Blake’s experiences shaped his writing of The Chimney Sweeper as well as, Robert Frost’s shaped his writing of The Road Not Traveled. From an early age, William Blake is said to have spoken of having visions.” At four he saw God” put his head to the window”; around the age nine, while walking three the countryside, he saw a tree filled with angels” (Academy of American Poets, 2012). When his...
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