* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience)

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience)

by William Blake

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

Luckily, Blake lays the setting out for us pretty clearly in the first line. We're "among the snow," where a young chimney sweeper waits for his parents to get out of a nearby church.

So let's zoom out for a minute. It's winter, and it's late 18th-century England. Being a chimney sweeper is just about as bad a life as a kid could choose. And, if you're Blake, the plight of the chimney sweeper is a grave injustice. These kids have no say in their lives. According to Blake, they've been abandoned by their parents, by the Church, by the government, and even by God.

In other words, it ain't a nice world to grow up in. And yet, that's exactly the world this little kid finds himself in. For more on this world, check out Blake's other "The Chimney Sweeper"—the Songs of Innocence version.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement