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A comparison of The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake & Charlotte O(TM) Neil(TM)s Song by Fiona Farrell

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A comparison of "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake & "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" by Fiona Farrell The poems "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake and "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" by Fiona Farrell are both protest poems with both poets trying to make their objections about matters which have affected them. William Blake was an English pre 20th century English poet. In "The Chimney Sweeper" William Blake protests about the use of children to clean chimneys, in his poem he strongly disapproves of the church's support for child labour. Blake often viewed the church as oppressors rather than as an institution for religious guidance. His whole poem is about innocence and hope versus harsh reality. The theme in Blake's poem however is less explicit compared to "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" which is more straight to the point with its rhythm which makes it quicker and easier to read. Blake was also viewed as a rebel as he admired the French revolution which involved the removal of the king and queen, this is because he believed in a more democratic way of ruling. Therefore it is not surprising that he has chosen this subject to write about. Fiona Farrell is a contemporary poet whose whole poem was based on the theme of freedom from the tyranny of the rich. ...read more.


By these two lines in the poem Blake is trying to suggest to the readers that in order for the chimney sweepers to become free they need to be dead. " Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm" Now as Tom does his work he thinks that if he does what he is told then he does not need to be afraid. In "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" the story's ideology is completely different and is more defiant and triumphant. "You rang your bell and I answered. I polished your parquet floor. I scraped out your grate And I washed your plate And I scrubbed until my hands were raw." The poem starts in the past tense with the slave explaining the jobs she does. Fiona Farrell also uses rhyme at the end of alternate lines. This creates the musical rhythm that Fiona Farrell wants. "You lay on a silken pillow. I lay on an attic cot. That's the way you said it should be, you said. That's the poor girl's lot." Now the poems ideology is being revealed as defiant and challenging to her oppressor. ...read more.


. "coffins of black," This is an example of one use of symbols in Blake's poem; this particular use of symbol creates the image in the mind of the reader of a whole community of dead sweepers. The black also symbolises the black soot from the chimneys. In conclusion "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" uses anger to catch the reader's attention, compared to William Blake's poem "The Chimney Sweeper" where the narrator is a young boy who captures the attention of the reader through the sheer sadness of the boy's loss of his Mother before being sold by his own father when he was young. Both poems are alike in the sense that of their viewpoints are on the bases of an unfair hierarchy where the people at the bottom of the hierarchy like Charlotte in "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" and Tom Dacre in "The Chimney Sweeper" suffer miserable lives under the rule of people at the top of the hierarchy like Rich slave owners. However Blake's poem is structured differently compared to Fiona Farrell's poem which has 5 stanzas and are all non regular unlike in the "The Chimney Sweeper" poem where Blake has chosen to construct his poem with regular stanzas. "Charlotte O' Neil's Song" also has an uneven verse construction and uses single lines. However Blake uses six stanzas. Both poems, though different, make their point about protest effectively. 1 ...read more.

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