SUMMARY: The speaker of the poem is a small boy who was sold into the chimney-sweeping business when his mother died. He recounts the story of a fellow chimney sweeper, Tom Dacre, who cried when his hair was shaved to prevent vermin and soot from infesting it. The speaker comforts Tom, who falls asleep and has a dream or vision of several chimney sweepers all locked in black coffins. An angel arrives with a special key that opens the locks on the coffins and sets the children free. The newly freed children run through a green field and wash themselves in a river, coming out clean and white in the bright sun. The angel tells Tom that if he is a good boy, he will have this paradis e for his own. When Tom awakens, he and the speaker gather their tools and head out to work, thinking that one day they would have a better life. VOCABULARY IN USE scarcely: hardly, none chimney: smoke tract, pipe soot: dirt, stain shaved: cut off, clear locked up: confined, caged coffin: to
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