William Blake's the Chimney Sweeper and Stephen Dunn's Hard Work Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1067 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake, and "Hard Work" by Stephen Dunn. Specifically, it will discuss how the two poets view labor - young people's labor in particular. Both of these poems use labor and work as their central theme. Both of the narrators in the poems are young boys, and both work extremely hard. The biggest difference in the two works is the reason the boys must work so hard. In Blake's poem, the young boy has been sold to a chimney sweep and lives almost like a slave, while in Dunn's poem, the young boy is not working to survive, or to save his family. He is simply working to have "spending money" for the summer. One poem ends with a note of hope for the future, while the other illustrates the fate of the young poor in the 18th century, who had no hope for anything beyond their dreams.

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William Blake's chilling poem is a criticism of a society that allowed young boys to be sold into servitude in an attempt to save a poverty-stricken family, while Dunn's poem shows the boredom and control in a factory assembly line. Both poems take a dim view of hard work such as this, and both show that finding alternatives can make all the difference in a person's life. The young chimney sweep has little choice in his profession, but the young man who works on the assembly line knows that is not the work he wants to do for the rest of his life, and that he has choices to make his life better. The chimney sweep ultimately has no hope, while the boy does, and that is the biggest separation between the two characters. Without hope, the chimney sweep has nothing to live for, while the modern boy has far fewer worries and concerns. He has hope for the future, and with hope, anything is possible.

TOPIC: Term Paper on William Blake's the Chimney Sweeper and Stephen Dunn's Hard Work Assignment

Clearly, both of these poems use the theme of work as their basis. How they view the issue of work is what sets them apart and makes both of them interesting and disturbing at the same time. Blake's poem came from a book of poetry called "Songs of Experience" that was published in 1794. The poem shows a poor, street urchin who has lost his family because of poverty and despair. Blake writes, "When my mother died I was very young, / and my father sold me while yet my tongue / Could scarcely cry ' 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!' / So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep" (Blake). This child's work experience comes out of fear and necessity. He has nowhere else to go, no family, and no way to support himself other than working for the sweep who bought him. His situation is bleak, at best. Blake is illustrating how society treated the poor and helpless in the 18th century. It was ugly, just as the child's ultimate fate is ugly, and it was a dark time for children of the poor. Blake continues, "And by came an Angel who had a bright key, / and he open'd the coffins & set them all free; / Then down a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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William Blake's the Chimney Sweeper and Stephen Dunn's Hard Work.  (2007, January 29).  Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/william-blake-chimney-sweeper-stephen/45745

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"William Blake's the Chimney Sweeper and Stephen Dunn's Hard Work."  29 January 2007.  Web.  4 December 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/william-blake-chimney-sweeper-stephen/45745>.

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"William Blake's the Chimney Sweeper and Stephen Dunn's Hard Work."  Essaytown.com.  January 29, 2007.  Accessed December 4, 2021.