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In The ‘Stolen Child’ How Does Yeats’ Present Innocence And Corruption?

1283 words - 6 pages

In the ‘Stolen Child’ how does Yeats’ present innocence and corruption?

In Yeats’ poem ‘The Stolen Child’, he focuses on a child being led to the safety of nature and its purity, away from the ‘corrupt’ urban life. He gives the poem a childlike form which conveys the innocence, and rhyming structure which reinforces this virtuous sense which the youth holds. The language he uses is aimed very accurately to express either the magical aura which the island encompases or the negative bitter attitude Yeats has towards the cities and society at the time.

‘The Stolen Child’ presents innocence through it’s form, structure and effective use of language. Each stanza creates a steady, rhythmical ...view middle of the document...

The ‘flapping herons’ and ‘drowsy water-rats’ or ‘slumbering trout’ once again personify the animals to give them a sense of life which in turn sets up a story structure and creates more of a fairytale framework. Yeats goes on to describe the ‘faery vats’ which shows that this is a mystical scenario Yeats is creating. The reference to collecting ‘berries and of reddest stolen cherries’ which implies these creatures thrive on nature and depend only on the provide of the environment, again this creates a certain purity to their lifestyle. The only person they steal from is nature, this is such a genuine crime that is is excused, compared to the crimes Yeats would have seen in society. Yeats creates a caring and approachable image as he the moonlight to ‘wave’ we feel as if the moon in this kingdom is welcoming us. In the second stanza Yeats talks about the night in the island. Night can be considered a time of fear but also of calm and peace in the day. He reinforces this calm aura by created lines with many soft sounds like,’Far off by furthest Rosses’. The soft ‘f’ sound slows down the pace from the upbeat previous stanza and creates a sense of protection. Fairies come out and ‘Mingling hands and mingling glances’ start to dance. This image of unification and celebration by dancing contrasts the loneliness of urban life. The language Yeats uses to describe the fairies movements carefully portrays their childlike actions, they ‘leap’ and ‘chase’. Again Yeats uses soft alliteration to describe the ‘wandering water gushing’, the gentle sounds create a sense that the water in this place is not trapped but instead free and has a decisive direction. This contrasts the constricting city life and often indecisive and lost people. The ‘ferns that drop their tears’ show the cycle that the nature the island goes through. Nature works as one there and the elements rely on each other which opposes the city life where one often fights and lives of of himself. Images of comfort are created through Yeats language, and although this is a mention of the corrupt world the child still enjoys the harmless joys like; the ‘kettle on the hob’ or ‘calves on the warm hillside’. The language Yeats uses for the chorus is significant in connoting the corruption in the world the boy lives in. The fairies call to the child, pleading him to ‘Come away, O human child’ , an innocent tone is created and we feel the vulnerability of the pure soul which is being poisoned in the debauched world along with everyone else. The ‘waters and the wild’ which the fairy’s are luring the child to is wild and untainted by...

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