A Miserable Wondering and Seeking
“Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing,” according to Lucille Clifton, a famous American writer and educator. The best example of this wondering is shown in the poem “The Chimney Sweeper”. “The Chimney Sweeper”, written by William Blake in 1789, is a poem that reflects a shameful eighteenth century social problems. It shows the exploitations to the little children—the chimney sweepers. Those sweepers are even too young to have their own complete thoughts, but they are still on their own effort to seek comfort in this suffering situation. Therefore, the poems is trying to lead readers to experience a miserable and desperate situation and then to seek a way out along with the main character in the poem. This is a wondering process, without knowing anything about the real future of those chimney sweepers. What readers can get from this wondering process is the necessity of changing this shameful reality and help to get what these children dream for. The speaker of this poem is a small boy who was sold into the chimney-sweeping business when his mother died. He recounts the story of a fellow chimney sweeper, Tom Dacre, who cried when his hair was shaved to prevent vermin and soot from infesting it. The speaker comforts Tom, who falls asleep and has a dream or vision of several chimney sweepers all locked in black coffins. An angel arrives with a special key that opens the locks on the coffins and sets the children free. The newly freed children run through a green field and wash themselves in a river, coming out clean and white in the bright sun. The angel tells Tom that if he is a good boy, he will have this paradise for his own. When Tom awakens, he and the speaker gather their tools and head out to work, somewhat comforted that their lives will one day improve. The mood of the poems is heartbreaking. The child who is telling the story narrates that before he finished his tender years, he had to...
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