The Innocent Voice of Working Children

About "The Chimney Sweeper", a poem by William Blake

A piece of literature must have meaning in order to influence the culture and social reality. It cannot be separated from the real world and its background

The poet’s thoughts are considered to be the reflection of the poet‘s thought, his ways of thinking and perspectives. Actually, Romantic poets were tired of objective unemotional subjects. In particular, William Blake is one of those poets who wrote about different issues from the Enlightenment Era. He tried hard to present his political, religious and moral opinions in his works. “The Chimney Sweeper” is generally regarded as the most beautiful poem of Blake. It gives wide attention to the circumstances of working-class children. “The Chimney Sweeper” is essentially like a message or an official claim to free the human spirit from enslavement.

William Blake wrote “The Chimney Sweeper” when England was experiencing political, economical and social changes, especially, the transformation from an agricultural society to an industrial country. He describes all the conditions of children who clean the chimney in order to make them free from this black life. The children in his poem have no childhood.They are forced to do dangerous tasks.Also, they do not have an opportunity to be children and play like other kids only in their dreams .To give more illustrations, the deep meanings of the poem say that children lack the ability to speak about their own interests and rights. That is to speak , Blake makes the children enslaved to the chimney sweeper as a symbol of London’s corruption and how the working-class children lived during that period .So, he really represents the idea of social injustice as well as child exploitation.

William Blake

Concerning parents of those children, there is some kind of slavery. The nameless speaker says that his mother died and his father sold him to master sweepers’. That is to say, the children belonged either to poor families from the countryside or they are orphans. Blake expresses in the poem a good point of view which is the large gap between the capital class (rich) and the labour class. The poor families have no rights to live a normal life with their children. They are represented as inferior category (slavery). I can say that William Blake reveals this particular idea in his poem because he wanted to change that bad side about England.

Another aspect that Blake wants to make it free from enslavement is ideology. Children have some false religious beliefs which let them accept the fact of living as slaves. Actually, these values allow not only the innocent children to be exploited without their awareness, but also endure this horrible life with happiness and hope. Unfortunately, Blake wrote this impressive poem in an ironic way. He broke the borders in order to show the public the real world of England and how those children were forgotten by society. He extremely puts these beliefs and ideas with the innocence voice of working children.

To sum up, I think that William Blake used “ The Chimney Sweeper ” to make a lot of ideas and social issues known by the readers. Enslavement is one of these issues. Blake wants to free the human spirit from being a worker without any rights and from the false values about religion. In fact, he uses the poem to make the voice of working children heard by using the contrast between the innocent voice of working children.

The Innocent Voice of Working Children

إكرام أجكنيو

University student B.A holder-English Department _Literature and Cultural Studies A professional B.A student in English Language Teaching and Global Market

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