A person is affected by life occurrences differently as a child than as an adult. Childhood is a period of life every person experiences, and therefore can relate to. In the following four poems the poet attempts to stir feelings and emotions about childhood in the reader. In each poem the child has to or has lived through something horrible. In "The Chimney Sweeper," the child has been sold to the city to be a chimney sweep and has to cope with the fact that he will probably die a child chimney sweep. In "My Papa's Waltz," a child deals with an alcoholic, controlling father. The boy in "The Whipping," has a mother who abuses him as a release for the pain life has caused her. "On The Death of Friends in Childhood," a grown man looks back, and attempts to shed light on the tragedy of the death of his friends while he was a boy.
As far as the tone of these four poems is concerned, all are very serious poems and that can be sensed in the under layer of the poems. In the "The Chimney Sweeper," William Blake uses irony. The tone seems carefree and the poem flows smoothly like a nursery rhyme, however the poem is about something horrible and sick; the death and abuse of children through brutal child labor. "The Whipping" uses a very serious tone, and is more so because the narrator, who is a neighbor watching, remembers when he too experienced an abusive childhood. The tone of "My Papa's Waltz" is serious and contains a combination of love and fear for the father of the boy in the poem. In "On The Death of Friends In Childhood," Donald Justice is serious but light hearted, as he attempts to think of where his dead friends from childhood are living after their deaths. It also is a bit envious, because he seems to wish slightly that he too could spend eternity playing games on the schoolyard.
Blake and Hayden make use of similes and metaphors in their poems. In .
"The Chimney Sweeper," he describes his friend's curly blond hair with a simile, "There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, / That curl"d like a lamb's back, was shaved, so I said" (Lines 5-6) In "The Whipping," Hayden writes the metaphors, "in her hand.