• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The theme of aging in Yeats' poems Among School Children and Wild Swans at Coole

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Toni Gardyne ________________ Yeats? poetry communicates potent and universal ideas, which continue to make his poetry of relevance to today?s audience. His excellence in artistic expression enables him to intertwine his own ideas and philosophies and contextual issues, and as such we as responders are presented with the unique view points, philosophies and Yeats' self perceptions whilst simultaneously provided with an opportunity to broaden our understanding and perspectives on life, and explore universal themes, which are still relevant in our society. ?Among School Children? and? Wild Swans at Coole?, deep examine the transcendental tensions between the purpose of life and the eventual decline of physical and spiritual aging through self reflection and retrospection. Yeats' intense preoccupation with the processes aging is clearly evident. Among School Children reflects an intense concern with the process of growing old with its associated notions of decay and the looming threat of death on both a psychical and spiritual level. The imagery of an aged man as a 'scarecrow' is prominent throughout several of Yeats poems and it is certainly not coincidental that nearly all the examples of this image are connected to his thoughts on aging. ...read more.

Middle

Through this action in particular Yeats is attempting to recapture youth through the idea of being born, of questioning not only the aesthetics of a child, but also what they would become and how they would age. Among School Children is certainly a poem rife with imagery of youth, it is still ultimately a poem about the process of aging and decay which reflects the artist's ruminant and contemplative nature. In the final stanza of Among School Children Yeats ends his quest to unite his fragmented existence by concluding with idea that there is no way to separate the 'dancer from the dance'. He learns that it is impossible to divide life into each individual part and that instead we must view life with a 'brightening glance', seeing the beauty of life in its entirety, including the inevitable stage of decline. Through the deep examination of the universal questioning of the value of life, Yeats comes to terms with his own life and comes to a sense of contentment with his old age. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this rather grim analysis of life, his observations are not all tinged with anxiety and estrangement. While the reader gets the impression that Yeats wishes he could travel back in time and correct his mistakes or live again in youth, there are few, if any, comments made in any of his poetry about such a wish. Even though he may feel unfulfilled, he is content to wonder about becoming the 'scarecrow' of old age and eventual death, but rarely, if ever, does he drift into long examinations of what he might have done differently. While his love of Maud Gonne may not have been fulfilled and although he may have second thoughts about the poetry of his youth, he remains realistic in his acceptance of inevitable decline. Although this is hardly something to reflect upon with beauty, it is something that can be discussed with integrity, despite the tone of sadness. Yeats may never have felt completely satisfied with his life, but his vast collection of poetry gives attention to the inevitable dilemma of aging and decline and the innate questioning of life?s purpose. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level W.B. Yeats section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level W.B. Yeats essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on 'The Wild Swans at Coole' by W.B. Yeats

    3 star(s)

    opening stanza is generally the tone in which the rest of the poem follows, however at this stage the main theme has not yet been fully developed and as this theme progressively emerges stanza by stanza the tone slightly changes accordingly.

  2. 'An Irish airman foresees his death' and 'Wild swans at Coole'

    home and he is lonely, if he does then he doesn't have any strong feelings for them and cares very little of them.

  1. How effective is W.B Yeats in cautioning the modern reader on the melancholic, the ...

    The simultaneous wish that his daughter live life with joy and magnanimity, but also that her life be sheltered and protected in "one dear perpetual place" an evocation of the ideal of home" is powerful in these lines. He also refers to a 'green laurel' implying that his daughter led a clean life and not the cause of the unpleasantness.

  2. Love is a common theme in poetry and it has been written about for ...

    Also there is a very definite rhythm to the poem and it is quite fast paced. There are no full stops, just one long continuing sentence making the poem flow and giving it a steady beat. When read at first the poem seems quite simple and the main points are

  1. The theme of the beauty and mystery of life in Yeats' "Wild Swans at ...

    The detailed description of the ?lake? and the ?rocky highlands? suggests untouched and unexplored land however; the ?drowsy rats? suggests contamination and intoxication hence making the reader think twice because the fairies. However, in ?September 1913? life is considered as easily replaceable due to the semantic field of death.

  2. How is the theme of change represented in "Wild Swans at Coole"?

    Autumn is mentioned within the first line (again maybe highlighting importance of that time of the year; Yeats last proposal to Maud Gonne was in the summer of 1916.) ?Autumn beauty? presents the image of the colours gold and brown and green, all mirroring nature.

  1. Focusing on Wild Swans at Coole, discuss the theme of time and change in ...

    In this poem Yeats meditates on the changes that have occurred in the nineteen years since he first saw, and counted, the swans at Coole Park; the home of his friend and patroness Lady Gregory, who provided it as a retreat for Irish writers and artists.

  2. Discuss how Yeats uses the theme of the supernatural in "The Cat and the ...

    Also, the rhyming couplets and again creates a sense of connection between the two very different beings as it shows a sense of dependency between each other. Moreover, the presence of the moon in the sky creates an image of a guardian for the cat.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work