The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)
by William Blake
The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- What is the deal with the poem's final line? Does the speaker really think chimney-sweeping is a duty that children should do? Should Tom really be feeling happy and warm?
- Why does the speaker devote so much time to Tom's dream? What does it tell us about these chimney sweepers?
- Does it make a difference that the speaker's most obvious criticism of chimney-sweeping happens in a dream? And what is that critique, exactly?
- Why do you think Blake included this poem in a volume called Songs of Innocence?
- What do you imagine the later poem with the same title would be like? Can a poem get any darker than this? How might it be different, similar?
- What's the effect of the sing-songy rhythm and almost always perfect rhymes? Do they jive with the meaning of the poem?
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