First Published 1927; collected in The Tower, 1928
Type of Poem Meditation
William Butler Yeats' "'Among School Children'' is written in eight eight-line stanzas that follow a precise rhyme scheme. Along with the straightforward title, stanza I establishes the immediate context of the action in deliberately prosaic language. The speaker is visiting a schoolroom, and "'a kind old nun,'' his guide for the day or perhaps the classroom teacher, is answering his matter-of-fact questions in a rapid, matter-of-fact way.
The tone and mood of the poem take a sharp turn in the couplet ending the first stanza, however; the speaker suddenly sees himself through the children"'"s eyes as they '"'In momentary wonder stare upon/ A sixty-year-old smiling public man.'"' The speaker is almost certainly Yeats himself; as a member of the Irish Senate, Yeats, just turned sixty, did in fact visit schools as a part of his official duties.
Seeing himself through the children"'"s eyes inspires a reverie. He thinks of a child, a girl, whom he knew in his own childhood or youth. The facts are not quite clear, for the reader is told of a '"'childish day'"' but also of '"'youthful sympathy.'"' Nevertheless, the young female is generally identified as Maud Gonne, with whom the poet first became acquainted and fell in love when she was in her late teens and he was in his twenties.
The reverie ends, but his eyes light upon one of the children, who looks amazingly like Maud when she was that age: '"'She stands before me as a living child.'"' Seeing her as she looked then reminds him of what she looks like now, after the passage of nearly forty years. '"'Her present image'"' is of someone...
... middle of paper ...
...self and others from the same condemnation. All fail in their choices and actions to face squarely the one insurmountable reality: Flesh ages, spirits flag, and human dreams wither. He thus accuses himself of having given up or given in ('"'I … had pretty plumage once'"' but now am '"'a comfortable kind of old scarecrow'"') and accuses nuns and mothers, as much as the Helens and Mauds of the world, of betraying the innocent, childlike spirit that fosters dreams and compels human choices.
People unwittingly create false images of what it is to be human, thereby creating false hopes and expectations. Yeats suggests that since there is no choice but to move forward, one should imagine the fullness of each moment as having an inextricable harmony with all others. Life is like a dance that does exist independent of a dancer but has no shape or form without the dancers.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... School policies In May 2001, The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ Columbine Review Commission was released. On January 28, 2000, the governor of Colorado at the time, Bill Owens, signed an executive order to create the Columbine Review Commission “to conduct an independent review of the tragedy.” With William E. Erickson, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, chairing the commission, volunteer members spent over a year conducting public hearings and looking over documents. Volunteer members of the Commission included a retired chief of police for the Pueblo Police Department, a retired FBI agent, and the District Attorney for Denver County, among others.... [tags: gun control, pop culture, school policies]
1497 words (4.3 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Hamlet Shakespeare’s works are rife with metatheatrical self-references; as Polonius blathers on about madness early in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Gertrude ends the excessive bombast with the quip, “More matter with less art” (Hamlet, II.i.97). Shakespeare mocks his own poetic form and that of his classical influences with this line, yet his plays are full of lyricism. However, the Greek and Roman texts Shakespeare studied as a boy as well as those of his contemporaries are so full of “art,” (meaning that they emphasize form over content) that they are often considered by the masses as arcane.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
3617 words (10.3 pages)
- William Blake William Blake is one of England’s most famous literary figures. He is remembered and admired for his skill as a painter, engraver, and poet. He was born on Nov. 28, 1757 to a poor Hosier’s family living in or around London. Being of a poor family, Blake received little in the way of comfort or education while growing up. Amazingly, he did not attend school for very long and dropped out shortly after learning to read and write so that he could work in his father’s shop. The life of a hosier however was not the right path for Blake as he exhibited early on a skill for reading and drawing.... [tags: William Blake Essays]
1877 words (5.4 pages)
- William Wordsworth once wrote a poem called My Heart Leaps Up in which he claims that “The Child is father of the Man;” this quote provides a basic understanding of his views on childhood (Allison 240). Wordsworth saw children having a close connection to both god and nature, this connection is explained by the theory of transmigration of souls (which claims that children experience preexistence; a period in which they share the company of god while waiting to be conceived). According to Wordsworth, children were also provided with insight into the world which was gradually lost as they matured into adults.... [tags: children, god, nature]
1165 words (3.3 pages)
- By taking this course I have come to realize that it is possible to meet the needs of diverse student populations by using well recognized school reform models. Ron Edmonds provides a quote that sums up this course quite nicely: “We can, whenever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far” (David Boers, personal communication, April 8, 2011).... [tags: Education ]
1337 words (3.8 pages)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that causes children to have problems with paying attention, trouble with following instructions, have impulsive behaviors and become easily distracted. Medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are used to treat the symptoms of this disorder by helping the patient to focus and pay attention while also curbing their impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Side effects of these medications are, but not limited to, anxiety, addiction and in some cases psychosis.... [tags: adderall, paying attention,ethics]
1641 words (4.7 pages)
- Unfortunately, the world we live in today is composed of several problems and sad truths that seem to be rising at a faster rate, one of which in particular, is often overlooked. This problem is the rising divorce rate in America. According to divorcestatistics.org (2012), 45-50% of marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for couples with children is 40%. Not only does this impact the adults going through the divorce, it also impacts the innocent children who are trapped in between the chaos.... [tags: cause of divorce, financial stability]
1303 words (3.7 pages)
- ASHCAN SCHOOL The Ashcan School was a movement which was integral and in a way 1 inevitable with the infancy of the twentieth century. This movement in art was brought about by a handful of artists who converged on New York City around the turn of the century.2 The major Ashcan artists who will be discussed later are Robert Henry ( 1865- 1929), George Luks (1866- 1933), Everett Shinn (1876- 1953), George Bellows (1882- 1925), John Sloan (1871- 1951), and William Glackens ( 1870- 1938).3 These were the major members of the Ashcan School.... [tags: essays research papers]
1676 words (4.8 pages)
- Littleton, Colorado; Springfield, Oregon; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Pearl, Mississippi. These previously unknown suburban cities will forever be branded into our minds. These cities are linked by one devastating factor: young students firing upon fellow students and educators. What causes these young people to "snap" causing the violent shooting sprees. Although the events are too recent to fully understand their causes, we can try to understand what led to the disastrous situations. The impact of television violence on youth behavior has been an issue for many years.... [tags: Critical Thinking Essays]
2292 words (6.5 pages)
- William Faulkner Although leading the life of an educated writer William Culbert Faulkner experienced the times of his life as a Hollywood writer. Probably known as the most famous writer/author of his time Faulkner adapted to his new lifestyles rapidly, and still remained well known in both the movie and book industries. Faulkner was born September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi. His named was inherited from his grandfather William Clark Faulkner, a skilled businessman and writer. After relocation to Oxford, Mississippi Faulkner’s father started the First National Bank (“William Faulkner #3”).... [tags: essays research papers]
1295 words (3.7 pages)