The Stolen Child
Wednesday 16 October 2013, 5 p.m. section
- Brief overview of text:
- myth of Oisin and Tir na nOg. This poem was originally published in a collection called The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, which makes me think it may draw on this myth. However, Oisin is a full-grown man whereas the subject of this poem is clearly a child. Folklore about changelings.
- Sleuth Wood, Rosses, Glen-Car: these are all places in Sligo where Yeats spent his childhood.
- repetition of chorus is like a song or a spell. Form parallels content.
- Discussion questions:
- What kind of transformation is taking place in this poem? (Loss of innocence? Birth of social consciousness? First knowledge or experience of death?) Consider Professor Duffy's discussion on Yeats's strict duality of fantasy and reality. Why is fantasy so necessary and how is that illustrated in this poem?
- Are the mythical and the political themes within Yeats's work mutually exclusive, or can they coexist? Does the significance of the poem change if read from a political perspective?
- Yeats was only 21 when he wrote this. Could he be the child in the poem undergoing a transition?
full of berries/ and of reddest stolen cherries — ties into our discussion of importance of fruit motif in
Wandering Aengus. Also, story about a prince who eats an apple and is stolen by fairy woman.
- imagery of flora and fauna evokes paradise-like state.
- romanticism of childhood (his own)?