1 Answer | Add Yours
In the "Chimney Sweeper", there is presented the adverse effect of industrialization which snatches away the childhood from a child and compels its father to sell him like a commodity and the lives of the boys engaged in the task of chimney-sweeping are coffins from which they escape only in fantasy.The chimney-sweepers innocence is seen not in any pastoral landscape but among the soot. The angel in the dream of Tom Dacre asks him to be a 'good boy'which means little more than Tom should work hard as a chimney-sweeper.Then, there is irony in the moral with which the poem closes.
"So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm"
Doing one's duty in this context can only mean going up chimneys without making fuss, and the harm is the severe punishment given to the sweepers who would not work. There is an explicit criticism of the system that permitted cruelty to children.Acceptance of his fate as such is in itself a greater criticism of the existing social system which Blake indicates to. Child-labour was prevalent in the 18th century England and its evil consequences touched the mind of Blake.
In the "Chimney-Sweeper"of the Experience Section, the little boy is reduced to commodity when he is described as "a little black thing in snow".His identity and innocence goes unnoticed and he is clothed in the "clothes of death" and has been taught "to sing the notes of woe".
The poems of Blake embraced all the political ideas of the French Revolution with their social consequences and modern criticism of moral values. All settles criteria and faith are upset at a single stroke. The comfortably situated rich men are unaware of the wretched conditions of the poor people and since the poor are expressive of their sense of gaiety, the rich site that as an example of maintaining a statusquo in favour of themselves. Blake knew well that the world looks very different to those who are comfortably situated from the way it looks to those who are suffering from injustice and need.
We’ve answered 302,081 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question