young boy in overalls and a hat walking with a chimney sweeping broom over his shoulder

The Chimney Sweeper

by William Blake
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Who is Tom Dacre and why was he crying?

Expert Answers

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Tom Dacre is another chimney sweep, who seems to work with the narrator. The narrator says that he was sold by his father into work, and so it is likely that Tom Dacre suffered a similar enough fate. Tom is crying because his hair is shaved off. The narrator reassures Tom that it's better to have a shaved head because then the soot from the chimneys that they sweep won't get into his hair and make it messy. He also says that he sleeps in soot. This implies that the people that they work for forcibly shave their heads instead of offering a way to bathe, which is quite an understandable reason for a young child to be so upset.

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