Do you think the chimney sweepers are human beings? Did he know them personally: Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack?

Expert Answers
podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poetry is a work of the imagination; it is unlikely that Blake knew particular sweepers by these particular names. It is more likely that he chose these names because they are all one-syllable words that fit gracefully into the meter of his poem. He may have also chosen the name "Jack" to rhyme with "black" in the third stanza. Tom is the only "real" sweeper in the story; the others appear in a dream.

One thing that is true about all of the names is that they are informal nicknames that would be embraced by the working class.

Blake, however was addressing the very real problem of child exploitation during the industrial revolution. These boys were small enough to do a dangerous job, and their safety was put at risk every day. The poem is a scathing attack on middle-class greed and complacency.

manoranjanghadei | Student

Of course the chimney sweepers are human being but the chimney sweepers were not given the freedom to play and run .They were all made to work, as small children are small and thin and they can easily crawl in narrow winding passage such as your chimney .

but he did not know them personally: Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack.

these are the names which he used for adderessing some of the boys from the thousand of sweepers who were locked up in the coffins.

 

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manoranjan ghadei