From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)

  

by William Blake

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #4

Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm; (23)

Given the first twenty-two lines of the poem, this line has to be ironic, right? How could Tom be "happy and warm" when the life of a chimney sweeper is full of so much suffering? "Warm" rhymes imperfectly with "harm," which tells us that there is something fishy going on here.

Quote #5

So if all do their duty they need not fear harm. (24)

The lines suggest that children should just suffer, if that is their lot, and nothing bad will happen to them. Wait. What? That doesn't sound right. Frankly, it's hard not to read these lines ironically, as if they were a parody of the kinds of advice we usually give children (things like, "stay in school," or "follow the rules").

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement