Words- The Poet’s Tools to Life
Words are powerful tools that inspire and connect people. Words challenge and inspire a poet’s audience by allowing the author to convey different messages to the reader. Utilizing these tools, the poet can take readers to faraway places, lend understanding, and evoke strong emotions. Writers string them together in the hope of communicating new ideas that expose their deepest fears, desires, and truths. In “The Chimney Sweeper,” William Blake utilizes literary devices of irony, diction, and rhythm throughout the poem.
One literary tool Blake effectively uses is irony. Throughout, “The Chimney Sweeper,” Blake uses different forms of irony to focus and control the reader’s attention. Dramatic irony is present because Blake allows, even demands, his audience to have a deeper understanding of the harshness of the chimney sweeper’s situation than the child is able to recognize himself. The first few lines of the poem demonstrate the speaker’s nonchalant view of his difficult life: “When my mother died I was very young, /And my father sold me while yet my tongue /Could scarcely cry “’weep!’weep!’weep!’weep!” (Blake 1-3). From these lines, the audience learns that the child’s loss of his mother and the betrayal of his father lead to his enslavement as a chimney sweeper. Despite being abandoned by his parents, the child is too naive to feel sorry for himself, or to blame anyone else for his situation. In line 3, the child’s inability to say the word “sweep” creates a powerful example of repetition that signifies the child’s unhappiness. His mispronunciation of the word leads to the sound “weep!’ weep!’ weep!’ weep!” resembles the sound of a crying child. This line simultaneously represents both the child’s young age and his sadness. The final line of the first stanza continues to play with the dramatic irony of the poem: “So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep,” implies that the speaker simply accepts his duty as a chimney...
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