The drudgery of Work

Within both The Chimney Sweeper and Miners we see that the poets feel the work being done in unjust to the workers. Being written from a child chimney sweeps voice, The Chimney sweeper manages to highlight the problem with a society which allows children to work in trades such as chimney sweeping and w see this again in Miners, however in the second poem the poet is outraged at a society which allows its youth to go to war.

The Chimney Sweeper certainly shows the sweeps trade for the slavery that it truly is. This becomes clear within the first stanza “My Father sold me whilst yet my tongue/ Could scarcely cry “weep!” “weep!” “weep!”” This shows the sheer injustice of the sweeps trade, and the irony of the boy being unable to perform the sweep’s call, so young he can only manage “weep!” displays just how young these boys were.

Contained within the poem there is also repeated black and white imagery. Firstly with the boy whose head has been shaven “You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.” Clearly as this imagery is repeated we see that the white represents the child’s innocence whilst the black soot held within their work taints these boys. There is this idea that the work is too hard for children so young and this imagery is repeated with “They were all lock’d up in coffins of black” obviously in the context of the dream they are dead, however the dream has a clear literal meaning and the “coffins of black” are a metaphor for the chimneys they work in, which will be the death of them.

Within the child’s dream we see two things, a view of heaven, and the ideal live for young children. The dream presents a clear contrast to their life as a chimney sweep and this once again highlight the paint inherent in the work they are doing and the way that they have been forced into this.

Miners also comments on the injustice involved by society’s entrapment of these workers. The poem first comments on a mineshaft collapse, and of “Boys that slept, wry sleep, and men writhing for air” The word writhing hints at a sense of desperation and panic, knowing the poet’s feelings from the poem we see that he feels this is entirely unnecessary. Not only does the poet feel outrage at the work these men must do, but he is also indignant over the mineshaft owners who make massive profits over the exploitation shown by “burn rich loads”.