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Essay on the Chimney Sweeper

The poetry of William Blake is well recognized as literature heritage. Several of his works stressed publicity with the strength of thought, including the most popular London, Poison tree and Chimney sweeper (innocence). There is the attempt to line out the role of Blake’s figurative and sensory languages in Chimney sweeper (innocence) through appropriate examples providing.

No doubt that the common idea of analyzed text is the problem of child labor, which was generated by hegemonic power structure in England of that times (Russell). Therefore, this is going to become the start point of figurative and sensory language exampling.

Let’s begin with the symbols of “soot” and “white hair”. Considerably, the first was used to show out the lack of needful care and protection which law class children had to face. The soot is manifestation of poor child’s grief. On the other hand, “white hair” was put to emphasize the innocence of these souls who took challenges of dreadful reality. Ultimately, we’ve got the harmful impact of evil to harmless creations:

“Theres little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curl’d like a lambs back, was shav’d, so I said.
Hush Tom never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair” (Blake).

The sensory of William Blake in his Chimney sweeper (innocence) is not weaker with its sensory language. There is the view, that it was used to awake sympathy to oppressed. Probably, personalization became to the solution for sensory writing. The figures of particular person are much more influential to invoke feelings to the entire depressed class as the result:

“As Tom was a sleeping he had such a sight,
That thousands of sweepers Dick, Joe, Ned & Jack
Were all of them lockd up in coffins of black” (Blake).

The last figure to pay attention to is closely related to scholastic beliefs of that times. Appeared in poem “Angel” was used to get the reflexion of hypocritical Church which supported social injustice and frustrated reality for poors of that era. Thereby, hope for salvation was unappreciated even by Church and children were enforced to accept oppression as something mandatory and proper:

“And the Angel told Tom if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father & never want joy.”(Blake).

To conclude, it worth to be recognized that figurative and sensory languages are the main tools which made Blake’s poetry so impactful. By drawing the analogues between particulars and commons, he showed the relevance of social problem awakening readers sympathy to poem’s characters. In addition, these solutions became useful to emphasize author’s neglect to unjust life foundations of that times.


1. Blake, William. “Chimney sweeper (innocence)”. Online-literature, 2010. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/. 26 March 2011.
2. Russell, David. “A Poison Tree, London, Chimney sweeper (innocence): How figurative language foregrounds political and social issues”. Classic network, 2008. http://classicsnetwork.com/essays/A_Poison_Tree_London_Chimney_sweeper_innocence/1549. 26 March 2011.