The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

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In William Blake's poem, "The Chimney Sweeper," the metaphor "coffins of black" represents:  A) Innocence B) Chimneys C) Daffodils D) The tiger

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"Coffins of black" represents innocence and what is done to innocent children.

In the poem, the narrator, himself a young chimney sweep, recounts that poor Tom Dacre had a dream in which he saw thousands of chimney sweeps locked in "coffins of black." If Tom stopped there, the reader could easily think that the little boy, at least subconsciously, was wising up about his situation and that of the other chimney sweeps. They spend their days in the "dark coffins" of soot filled chimneys, which they clean by climbing through and brushing. They have to be kept half starved to fit down the narrow chimneys, and they have a high rate of cancer from their contact with so much coal dust. Their work truly is like being locked in a black coffin.

However, what makes this image heartbreaking is that it is followed in the next stanza by the rest of Tom's dream. Because...

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jasminecierra1 | Student

B

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nicarz77 | Student

"Coffins of black" represent chimneys first of all. Perhaps viewing the phrase as a representation of innocence is looking too deeply.

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