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Literary Devices in The Chimney Sweeper

Literary Devices Examples in The Chimney Sweeper:

The Chimney Sweeper


"There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved; so I said,' Hush, Tom!..."   (The Chimney Sweeper)

In this stanza, Blake blends metonymy and metaphor to convey Tom Dacre’s state of innocence. Tom Dacre’s hair represents his innocence. It is “like a lamb’s back,” evoking the lamb of God, a Christian symbol of piety and innocence. Blake explores the role of the lamb more deeply in “The Lamb,” another poem in Songs of Innocence. The shaving of Tom’s head is akin to the act of sheep-shearing, a moment of innocence lost. The same pattern can be found in the contrast between the whiteness of Tom’s hair and the darkness of the chimney soot. Whiteness is a classic literary motif of purity, and darkness is one of experience.

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