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How does Yeats present freedom and escapism in "The Stolen Child"?

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Introduction

´╗┐How does Yeats present Freedom and Escapism in ?the Stolen Child?? ?The Stolen Child? is a poem written based on the traditional Irish folklore of faeries known as changelings who would steal children away in their sleep so that the faeries can take their place. Yeats wrote this poem in 1886 where the hysteria was at its peak in Ireland. This poem contains many elements of freedom and escapism throughout however, there is an element of confinement and death underpinning the whole poem as there is something very sinister about the fact that kids are being taken away. These themes are seen in other of Yeats?s poems where he explores the idea of freedom but still sustains the idea of entrapment and despair. Firstly, Yeats portrays the idea escapism through the ever present meaning of the children being enticed by the faeries. The faeries are seen to be convincing the child to leave the real world to join the fantasy world. This conveys the idea of the child wanting to escape the pain and suffering in the real world to join the more natural and perfect faery world. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the theme of freedom can be seen through the imagery of the animals in the poem. The dynamic image of ?flapping heron? displays the ability of flight which represents that the heron is free to go where it wants. Moreover, the trout in the ?young streams? show that the trout are able to swim in the free flowing waters because the streams are guiding the trout to where they want to go. Also, the streams are said to be ?[gushing]? which suggests again suggests a very dynamic image which can be seen to show the passion to get freedom by the trout. Additionally, the ?calves on the warm hillside? contains the sustained concept of freedom because the calves are not bound by any means which means they are able to explore the hillside and graze upon their free will. Also, ?hillside? is a very broad and expansive area which is used to emphasise how much space the cows have in comparison to fences. This concept of freedom can also be seen in ?The Wild Swans at Coole? because the brilliant swans are described to ?all suddenly mount?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Similarly, in ?The Second Coming? despite the fact that the falcon is ?free? to roam around, it always returns to the falconer because it has been trained to do so meaning that it is not really free and cannot escape the clutches. Moreover, the desert birds are shown to be circling the beast which suggests that they are confined and restricted to the vicinity of the beast because it provides them with food. Also, the poem contains a cyclical nature of gyres which emphasises the fact that there is no escape and that everything going to repeat itself; this is also highlighted by the free verse structure which shows chaos and this is a theme which opposes freedom. Overall, the elements of freedom and escapism are present in ?The Stolen Child? and various other poems written by Yeats; however they are also contradictory and are full of ideas which suggest that there is no freedom at all and that everything is restricted to and by something whether it be necessities or inability. Moreover, Yeats convinces the reader of the possibility of freedom via the use of repetition for emphasis however, he then uses structure and alliteration to convey the sense of entrapment. ...read more.

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