Tuesday, 24 May 2011

...chim, chim, cheree! A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be....

"Martin Nurmi discusses the plight of the chimney sweep extensively in his essay “Fact and Symbol in ‘The Chimney Sweeper.’” In 1788, there was an attempt to pass an act to improve the treatment and working conditions of these young children. This would have made many people, including William Blake (author of The Chimney Sweeper), aware of the lives that these chimney sweeps would live. For instance, they slept in cellars on bags of the soot that they had swept (Nurmi 17), and they were poorly fed and clothed. They would sweep the chimneys naked so their masters would not have to replace clothing that would have been ruined in the chimneys, and they were rarely bathed. Those who were not killed by fires in chimneys usually died early anyway of either respiratory problems or cancer of the scrotum. Sweeping chimneys also left children with ankles and spines deformed and twisted kneecaps from climbing up chimneys that were about nine inches in diameter (Nurmi 16). Many people viewed them as subhuman creatures and not a part of human society."  - K.L Reiser

7 comments:

Mama Mary said...

UGH...isn't this completely horrible to even imagine? 9 inches??? I want to travel back in time and adopt them ALL!

Joan said...

It makes me so sad to think of those poor little boys. I can't imagine any mother thinking little boys were subhuman. It was those who used and abused those little boys that were subhuman. Just unbelievable!!!

Char said...

@Mama Mary & Joan - I know...horrible, awful, heartwrenching - almost unbelievable.

sephyhime said...

hi!!~ i'm a TESL student and i'd used the saying at the above, 'the musings of a low paid, crud cleaning, dime a dozen human being who happens to love the view from a rooftop'..i would like to know whether u know from who the quote was or is it yours?i really appreciate your writings on the chimney sweeper and i would like to thank you for your help...^^

Char said...

Hi sephyhime!! I'm glad you appreciate my blog. I'm interested to know where you are from.
"the musings of a low paid, crud cleaning, dime a dozen...etc." - it's not a quote from anywhere, I wrote that.

sephyhime said...

hello Char~ i'm really sorry for my late reply...thanks a lot for your respond..i really appreciate it...i need to know the original person who quote it as my lecturer seems so into it and wants me to acknowledge the person *guess that person is you then ^_~* lol...it's quite late but just wanna wish you Happy New Year!!~btw,i'm from Malaysia...

preciouscurtis said...

It seems like I almost cry there. I realized that were still lucky enough and not to just to be angry or complain to our life. Very touching story, now I'll appreciate our chimney sweep service for helping us do the maintenance.