(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

Blake and His Work

            Although separately, two of William Blake's poems of the same name, "The Chimney Sweeper," follow the conventions and traditions of the Romantic period, both poems together show the impact that Blake created by stark contrasts illustrated when the poems are compared side by side. Both poems are about the plight of children in slave labor positions and is a direct criticism on the social and economic environment of the time thereby highlighting the lives of the common people in society. The first poem illustrates how the nave and dreamlike visions of children were used in literature during the Romantic period. Blake follows this tradition when using the voice of Tom Dacre in the first poem, a child forced into labor. Tom, an innocent child, shares his dreams of angels and the salvation of the sweeps: "And by came an angel who had a bright key, And he open'd the coffins & set them all free;" This sort of social consciousness in literature, stimulated by the French Revolution, also allows Blake to show in the second poem, through an experienced narrator, the true plight of child laborers: "Crying'weep! weep!' in notes of woe!" While searching for more information regarding the child laborers of this time I found several notes that the word "weep" may have actually been the word "sweep" - a result of a Cockney lisp which dropped the "s." I find that the word "weep" is more effective to the reader as a true representation of the plight of these children forced into labor.
             Blake has also exploited the hypocrisy and corruption of the church during this period. In the first poem, the child dreams of salvation; a child's nave hope of something better. The second poem is a truer and more stark reality. The first poem ends with a didactic statement that "If all do their duty, they need not fear harm." Blake uses this final line as guidance whereas the second poem ends with the "misery" that is the true picture of the young chimney sweeps life.

Essays Related to Blake and His Work

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question