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A Critical Analysis of The Chimney Sweeper

            In "The Chimney Sweeper" from both Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience William Blake uses the colors black and white to describe images within the two poems. The first instance of color is introduced in line 8 of the Songs of Innocence Poem, "You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair." This line introduces the problem that is occurring in the poem, that the chimney sweeper is becoming filthy because of the soot in the chimneys. It may be considered that the job of the chimney sweeper is tainting him. The black soot is dirty and is polluting the chimney weepers clean white hair, the white standing for the purity of the child. Throughout both poems the speakers directly and indirectly use the colors black and white to show images of the chimney sweeper. .
             The next instance of the speaker using the color black in the Songs of Innocence is in line twelve "That thousands of sweepers, Dick Joe, Ned and Jack,/ Were all of them locked up in coffins of black." Here the speaker uses black to describe coffins and the death that is surrounding the speaker. However, in the next stanza the speaker says, "and by came an angel, who had a bright key,/ And he opened the coffins, and set them all free;" The angel can be considered to be a representation of the color white, showing purity and innocence. This shows the narrator's point of view as innocent and pure because he believes that an angel will come and set the children free of the horrible life they have lived as chimney sweepers, living in the soot from the chimneys. .
             In the Songs of Innocence poem the narrator has hope for the future of the chimney sweeper by using the image of a pure white baby. This is demonstrated in lines eighteen and nineteen, "Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,/ They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind:" In using the words naked and white, the image of an infant is shown.

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