We Are Seven, by William Wordsworth: Innocence and Experience Essays

We Are Seven, by William Wordsworth: Innocence and Experience Essays

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We are seven, a poem written by William Wordsworth, paints the perfect picture of innocence, in all its forms. It tells of a man conversing with a young girl, inquiring about her family. She, without fail or any hesitation, responds that she is one of seven children; however, two have died. This is ultimately why the man is confused throughout the entire work. I am going to explore the notion of naïveté in Wordsworth's, We are seven, by analyzing the many different aspects of innocence in the young girl and the man and contrasting with the element of experience.
This poem embodies a bouncy and bubbly quality that creates a more inviting atmosphere and evokes certain emotions that lean towards an understanding of both characters confusion. The rhyming and four-line stanzas help to draw an innocent viewpoint from the readers. The description of the young girl is very naïve as well. The author says, “A simple child… What should it know of death?” Right at the beginning, in the first stanza, he foreshadows the underlying theme of this poem; what does it mean to know death and does how you interact with it make you either innocent or experienced?
When the man asks, “‘Sisters and brothers, little maid,/ How many may you be?’” the girl responds, “‘How many? Seven in all.’” He then asks where the rest of her family is and she explains, “‘… two of us at Conway dwell,/ And two are gone to sea./ Two of us in the church-yard lie,/ My sister and my brother.’” With this passage, the reader begins to catch a glimpse of her take on death. Regardless of the fact that her two siblings have passed away, she considers them a part of her family when asked about it. She makes the remark again, “‘Seven boys and girls are we;/ Two of us in the churc...


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...e mindset of the situation with the young girl. His argument with her is very cut and dry. An example: “‘You run above, my little Maid,/ Your limbs they are alive;/ If two are in the church-yard laid,/ Then ye are only five.’” According to him, she should only count the children in her family that are alive because the two deceased might as well be inanimate objects because of their inability to interact with her in everyday life.
Judging one’s quality of innocence or experience can be viewed from many different angles. Likewise, the man and young girl in this poem vary in that sense. Naïveté cannot be illustrated more perfectly than through the use of comparing and contrasting an adult and a child; male and female at that. Wordsworth captures many angles of both arguments and by expressing them in dialogue form, he is able to more easily convey them to the reader.

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