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Word Count: 640
William Blakes The Chimney Sweeper written in 1789 tells the story of what happened to many young boys during this time period Often boys as young as four and five were sold for the soul purpose of cleaning chimneys because of their small size These children were exploited and lived a meager existence that was socially acceptable at the time Blake voices the evils of this acceptance through point of view symbolism and his startling irony Blake expresses his poem in first person as a young chimney sweeper This gives his poetic voice creditability because the subject of the poem is chimney sweepers In addition using first person creates a deeper sense of sympathy in the reader This young boy the poetic voice lost his mother while he was very young 554 Soon after the loss of his mother his father sold him while yet his tongue Could scarcely cry weep weep weep weep 554 This sympathy allows the reader to realize not only how these children lived but also how they felt and how they were deprived of their childhood Blake also uses symbolism to express the evils of exploiting these small boys Most of this symbolism appears to be about death This gives the poem a dark mood For example Blake writes So your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep 554 Most of the boys who were sold into chimney sweeping died very young because the soot inhalation destroyed their lungs In this quote sleeping in soot symbolizes dying in soot or from the soot Blake also symbolizes these boys fate with the lines That thousands of sweepers Dick Joe Ned and Jack Were all of them locked up in coffins of black 554 In this quote the coffins of black symbolize the chimneys 554 Ultimately this all symbolizes the boys death because of their terrible life cleaning chimneys at such a young age In the next stanza an Angel
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