Presentation on theme: "The Stolen Child By W. B. Yeats The poem was written in 1886 and is considered to be one of Yeats' more notable early poems. The poem is based on Irish."— Presentation transcript:
The Stolen Child By W. B. Yeats The poem was written in 1886 and is considered to be one of Yeats' more notable early poems. The poem is based on Irish legend and concerns faeries beguiling a child to come away with them. Yeats had a great interest in Irish mythology about faeries resulting in his publication of Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry in 1888 and Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland in The places mentioned in the poem are in Leitrim and Sligo where Yeats spent much of his childhood.
Myths we tell our children… How did your parents get you to go to sleep? Did they tell you tales of the “bogey man” or about fairies that sprinkle sleep dust into your eyes? Through the ages, parents have lied to their children to make them go to be d and sleep!
A Celtic Legend Our Celtic ancestors, long ago, invented a method to tame the kiddies that many feel has worked wonders in this regard. It is the legend of the Changelings. Many of you have, no doubt, heard stories about the "little people." Some parents call them trolls, others refer to them as leprechauns, and still others speak about the "faery folk." The legend demands that children always obey their parents when it comes time to go to bed. They are to tuck themselves in quickly, close their little eyes, and quietly scurry off to dreamland. Should they, for any noticeable time, tend to resist the call for sleep and quietness, they run the risk of being carried off to faeryland, where the faeries will keep them prisoners forever. These "naughty" children, according to the legend, will no longer be able to see their parents, and in their place the little people will leave a "Changeling." In essence, a Changeling is the body of a child that no longer has the "kid" inside. The body walks, talks, goes to school---but the child inside lives somewhere else, far from waking awareness. The children who heard of this legend apparently had such belief in it that there seldom was a problem going to sleep, ever again, after the legend wove its spell.
West Ireland The west of Ireland, while being deeply Catholic, especially in those far off days, was also deeply superstitious. The notion of ‘Changlings’ – where fairies would swap one of their own for one of ours was widespread. To this day people will still add “God bless him/her” when something is being praised or complimented, most especially the young. The idea being that God’s invocation might prevent those malicious fairies from getting it. Religious belief and obscure superstition run hand in hand quite comfortably. Those same fairies were blamed for everything untoward that happened in the countryside, from poor harvests and sudden disappearances to medical maladies, you name it – they got blamed for it.
Read the poem and consider the following Interpretations… 1.The poem is about a child being lured away by faeries and being replaced with a changeling child (a child’s body with no “child” inside) 2.The poem is about how we all need to use our imagination to escape the difficulties of the real world. 3.The poem is about lost childhood and an adult’s regret at this.
Language Comment on the language used in relation to childhood: How does it suggest innocence? How does it create a soft tone? Look at rhyme / half rhyme / alliteration How does the language change as the poem progresses?
The “Chorus” Consider the effect of the “chorus” and its repetition. What associations do you have with water? Why do you think Yeats has used water here?
Final Stanza Consider the more domestic language used in the final stanza. What might this reflect?
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