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Allusion in The Chimney Sweeper

Allusion Examples in The Chimney Sweeper:

The Chimney Sweeper


"Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,..."   (The Chimney Sweeper)

Nudity is another metaphor for a return to innocence. In Christian iconography, angels, cherubs, and the infant Jesus are all typically portrayed as naked to denote their complete purity. The leaving behind of baggage is another powerful metaphor. In Christian theology, redemption is a movement of the soul and requires an abandonment of the body and materiality. Thus, enlightenment takes on both luminous and physical registers: a shift from darkness to light, as well as a lightening of one’s load.

"And by came an angel, who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins, & set them all free;..."   (The Chimney Sweeper)

The arrival of the angel draws on the Christian narrative of redemption. One of the central philosophies in the Christian tradition is that the toils and pains of human existence are fleeting compared to the joys of the afterlife. The angel serves as an agent of heavenly redemption for the chimney sweepers in their state of earthly suffering. The “bright key” is the solution to the black coffins.

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