A picturesque scene is painted by Yeats with the faery’s intentions of allowing the child to ‘escape’ into their own world, suggesting that in this far away and distant world, the ‘wave of the moonlight glosses the dim grey sand’, serene imagery to present the feelings of freedom that the faery’s world could bring to the child. The supposed freedom brought to the child by the faeries is described as involving ‘weaving olden dances, mingling hands and mingling glances’, a sense of the excitement yet peacefulness that makes up Yeats’ own ideas of freedom and escapism from the world ‘full of weeping’. Yeats continues this through the faeries explaining how ‘to and fro (they) leap, [chasing] the frothy bubbles’, a child-like and relatively serene image pictured by Yeats, and combined with the mystical nature of the faeries the freedom and chance for escape presented by the faeries becomes gentle in nature and verging into drowsiness, again combined with the murmur of the drone that follows each stanza.
Yeats presents the ideas of escapism as ideas that are powerful, likening these feelings to ‘the wandering water [gushing]’, powerful and raw in its nature, with reference to his own Irish background and childhood, referring to ‘the hills above Glen-car’. Nature plays a prominent role in Yeats’ imagining of freedom and escapism; the faeries that attempt to tempt the child to escaping into their world frequently refer to the serene images of the moonlight ‘[glossing] the dim grey sand’, or ‘in pools among the rushes’, where one can be away from human interference, only experiencing nature in its pure form. The poet also indicates how freedom and escapism can become enticing, and suggests that people may possibly be susceptible to the temptation of reaching for this freedom and chance to escape from their own lives, upon seeing the dream-like and magical nature of it. The constant temptation and will to seek this freedom is expressed within the faerie’s own drone; the constant call for the child to ‘Come away’, and escape into ‘the waters and the wild…hand in hand’, far away from the child’s own world, the wish to move onto another part of life. Yeats’ other poems such as Broken Dreams also reaffirms this will to move on with his life, when he describes how he wishes to go to his grave in order to see his lover young once again, and in the same way escapism and freedom become temptation.
However, from the last stanza Yeats affirms how despite how escapism and freedom seem like an attractive proposition, he indicates that escaping from one world could also mean the loss of comfort, such as the child who eventually chooses to go with the faeries no longer ‘[hearing]…the lowing of the calves on the warm hillside, or the kettle on the hob’. Yeats indicates how the wish for freedom and escapism does not necessarily always bring happiness and newness to someone’s life, or that even the ‘normal’ things in life can make a person be at comfort. In this, Yeats possibly suggests that the feelings of freedom and escapism that draws people in may not be what they are actually looking for; the child is used as a prime example of the fact that he becomes ‘solemn-eyed’ upon the loss of the ‘normal’ routine of life, and that in fact perhaps it is more right to be thankful for the normality that we already have in life, rather than always seeking a seemingly better option for ourselves. The final drone in the last stanza emphasises this, with a sudden shift in tone and the faeries no longer directly addressing the child, the dream of escapism and freedom clearly not happy and dream-like as it was described by the faeries.
‘The Stolen Child’ presents the ideas of how many people, such as the child in the text are often tempted by the ideas of being able to ‘break free’ from their own daily lives, and escape into a new world which may be completely different, and in doing so possibly bring a sense of joyfulness, with Yeats suggesting how the faeries’ world was full of nature and powerful imagery. However, he also indicates that despite the enticing nature of freedom, it may not always necessarily be what brings us comfort, and instead sometimes we may possibly be better off being content with our own daily lives which we have grown accustomed to.