This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Explorations Of Childhood And Duty In “The Chimney Sweeper” And “Casabianca”

1841 words - 8 pages

Although Blake wrote “The Chimney Sweeper” featured in Songs of Innocence before Felicia Hemans was ever born, issues relevant to first-generation Romantic authors still pervaded the literary scene when second-generation authors like Hemans finally took the stage. “Casabianca,” published in 1826, and “The Chimney Sweeper,” published in 1789, both address a central question: What does it mean to be a child? Both poems examine the duties that children have to society as a whole. While there is an overriding sense of an allegiance to duty in both poems, the poems’ situational irony complicates the relationship between children and responsibility. The final line of “The Chimney Sweeper” ...view middle of the document...

This idea is mirrored by both of the poems’ central images. For example, in “The Chimney Sweeper,” the main characters have the title’s namesake profession, which brings to mind images of soot-covered children. However, the poem reminds us that there are children “naked and white” (19) underneath the layer of black soot that covers them. Thus, Blake could be reminding his readers to look beyond the superficial level of both appearance and language to find deeper meaning. “Casabianca” requires the same unpacking of image and language that “The Chimney Sweeper” does. The poem creates a scene of chaos, and creates an image of uncontrollable flames engulfing both the child and his words. Hemans invites us to read closer so that we can “hear” the complicated message of her poem amidst the “breath” (21) of the flames. Although the poems at first seem reminiscent of nursery rhymes because of their structures, upon closer examination, the rhyme and rhythm serves to appeal to the protagonists’ youth and contrast against the responsibilities facing them in each poem.
The mismatched poetic structure and content not only encourage the reader to dig deeper into the poems’ meanings but also caters to the oral tradition of the Romantic period. Blake included “The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Innocence, a collection with musical roots. Its rhyme scheme follows the trend of the series as poems sprung from songs. In addition, the rhyme scheme highlights the innocence of the characters featured in the poems. Just as “The Chimney Sweeper” features elements of song, “Casabianca” reflects the oral recitation tradition that arose during the second-generation Romantic era. The tradition of recitation of “Casabianca” for school children reflects childhood innocence and obligation to duty. Just as school children were required to follow the orders of their teachers by memorizing verse, the children in both poems are obligated to fulfill their respective duties assigned to them by adults in society. The oral roots of both of these poems are significant because they highlight the childhood innocence that is denied to the protagonists because of their obligation to duty.
The poem’s two perspectives compliment each other and illuminate a viewpoint that is not accessible from each poem on its own. The third person narrator of “Casabianca” helps to glorify Young Casabianca’s sacrifices in way that would not be possible if the story were told from his perspective. For example, in line 5 the speaker contrasts Casabianca with the chaos happening around him:
Yet beautiful and bright he stood
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form. (5-8)
This quatrain characterizes Casabianca as a hero, but it also complicates his heroism as well. Out of context, the first three lines of the stanza are a more fitting description of an adult figure than the child figure that they are actually describing; however, Hemans...

Other Essays Like Explorations Of Childhood And Duty In “The Chimney Sweeper” And “Casabianca”

Childhood Memories of Grandmother and Corn Dogs

1535 words - 7 pages One of the almost romantically intimate experiences that I shared with my grandmother as a child was the ecstasy of eating corn dogs. And it was with surprising frequency, at least during summer months, that I joined in her unmitigated, uncomplicated zeal for her favorite food. Forget the old saw about permissive grandmothers filling their grandchildren with tasty fried treats. My grandmother wanted the corndogs for herself, and it was the

The Contract Administrator Has a Duty to Issue Certain Certificates Under the R.I.A.I. and G.C.C.C. Standard Forms of Contract. Identify the Certificates, Explaining the Relevance of Each

4426 words - 18 pages Chart Table 2 Payment Under Construction Contracts 4 6 1 John Tully Construction Administration and Management C10705495 The contract administrator has a duty to issue certain certificates under the R.I.A.I. and G.C.C.C. standard forms of contract. Identify the certificates, explaining the relevance of each. The RIAI and the GCCC standard forms of contract are the predominant forms of contract for the construction industry in

The Major Values of Classical Greek Culture and How They Impacted on Concepts of Childhood

940 words - 4 pages Outline some of the major values of classical Greek culture and indicate how you think they impacted on concepts of childhood. In this assignment I delve into classical Greek culture, the day to day activities, schooling, extra-curricular activities and general behavior of all classes regarding treatment, education and raising of children, in the context of how they then, And how they now have impacted on modern and past concepts of childhood

A Discussion Into the Ways in Which Nabokov's Lolita Explores Modern Anxieties About Childhood Sexuality and a Foucauldian Understanding of the 'Monster'

3595 words - 15 pages A Discussion in to the ways in which Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita Explores Modern Anxieties about Childhood Sexuality and a Foucauldian Understanding of the ‘Monster’ While the themes of sexuality and subjugation have been at the forefront of popular culture for many years, until Lolita no book had so explicitly explored the deeper and darker rudiments of sex and desire, with the exception of Sade’s literary works. Through the novel’s

Childhood and Youth Studies

792 words - 4 pages activity that the children may perceive as something that is exclusively for them. It could be that Peter and Iona were embracing the memories of their own childhood by doing this or it may have been that they wanted to show the children that adults could play games and have fun as well. The image itself appears to be an innocent of children and adults interacting in an appropriate way. There does not appear to be any underlying suggestion that this

Middle Childhood and Adolescence

1102 words - 5 pages Middle Childhood and Adolescence Louis Gibbs PSY/280 05/18/2012 Michael Johnson The introduction of middle childhood and adolescence, a crucial period of development, for the child and parent can become a time of uncertainty. The parenting styles of the parent makes a difference in the out-come of the

Childhood and Discovery

886 words - 4 pages Childhood and discovery Delta Lea Goodrem was born on 9 November 1984 in Sydney, New South Wales to parents Denis and Lea Goodrem. Goodrem, who showed a strong interest in music and performing from a very young age, attended The Hills Grammar School, though due to its curriculum placing strong emphasis on sport (Goodrem taking part in netball, running and swimming), music was primarily kept separate.[12] At the age of seven, she appeared in an

Comparing And Contrasting Two Poems On The Theme Of Childhood By

1245 words - 5 pages Comparing and contrasting two Poems on the theme of childhood By Seamus Heaney. Comparing and contrasting two Poems on the theme of childhood Having read the four poems from Seamus Heaney's collection "Death of a Naturalist", I have decided to Compare and contrast the two poems that I like best, which are "Death of a naturalist" and "Follower". Both of these are childhood stories set in the countryside. These reflect how Heaney

Assess Sociological Explanations of Changes in the Status of Childhood

1439 words - 6 pages Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations of changes in the status of childhood (24 marks) Sociologists argue about what the term ‘childhood’ actually means. They claim that childhood is a social construction, rather than a biological or natural state. This essay will therefore attempt to assess whether there have been any changes in the status of childhood. I will be looking at the views of various sociologists

Black Boy (American Hunger): a Record of Childhood and Youth”,

890 words - 4 pages Richard Wright’s autobiographical book entitled “Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth”, explored many of the obstacles that Richard Wright faced throughout his life. Published by Harpers and Brothers in 1945, Wright narrates his journey and experiences growing up in the Jim Crow South, and having to come of age during such a racial charged period in black history, from early childhood to about age twenty-nine

Public Duty Doctrine With Regard To Definition, Theory And Application

761 words - 4 pages particular individual is injured due to the failure of the entity; this means that there must be a duty which is breached on that particular individual. Liability is not taken if at all it is based on the general public. (Knight, 1999)"Governmental duty to protect its citizens is a general duty to the public as a whole, and where there is only a general duty to protect the public, there is no duty of care to an individual citizen which may result in

Related Papers

Chimney Sweeper Songs Of Innocence And Experience: William Blake

731 words - 3 pages William Blake's Chimney Sweeper Songs of Innocence and Experience.Everyone is eventually exposed to various types of experiences that result to different consequences such as the loss of an individual’s innocence. William Blake explores this theory through his poems ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ in both ‘Songs of Innocence’ and ‘Songs of Experience’ as he somewhat protests against the living and working conditions as well as the overall treatment of the

The Chimney Sweeper Essay

1176 words - 5 pages , and in soot I sleep. (1-4) This sympathy allows the reader to realize not only how these children lived, but also how they felt, and how they were deprived of their childhood. The speaker of the poem "The Chimney Sweeper" is a boy, sold like a slave by his father to be a chimney-sweep after his mother died when he was so young he could hardly say weep In other words the little boy could hardly speak the name of the occupation he was supposed

Stages Of Life: Childhood And Adulthood

768 words - 4 pages Stages of life: Childhood and adulthood. BY: Laura Geraldine Ramirez. Definitions of life stages can be found in Greek literature from the time of Socrates and Plato. These descriptions are based on the changes and behaviors which humans have during life. Basically, a stage of life is a period of time when people suffer a big physically change and in their mind as well. The purpose of this essay is to compare and

Curriculum And Methods Of Early Childhood Educations

1901 words - 8 pages Introduction Contemporary curriculum approaches in early childhood education stress the magnitude of making available to the young children experiences that foster holistic development and promote positive attitudes. They should also be developmentally appropriate to the life and learning of the young children. Early childhood teachers therefore must acquire the knowledge necessary to implement and develop child centered curriculum practices