Discuss ways in which Yeats presents freedom and escapism in The Stolen Child

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Discuss ways in which Yeats presents freedom and escapism in ‘The Stolen Child’

Yeats’ ‘The Stolen Child’ presents a world where faeries encourage escapism and promote a sense of freedom in their own world, suggesting to the ‘child’ in the poem to escape to their own mystical ‘leafy island’, akin to being in a dream, far away from the child’s actual world that is ‘full of weeping’.

The first stanza immediately indicates the setting as a far away, remote place, stating that it is ‘where dips a rocky highland’, and there ‘[lying] a leafy island’, a large emphasis placed on nature in order to create a feeling of freedom and escapism that the ‘child’ in the text is enticed with. Yeats describes how the ‘faeries’ attempt to make this mystical place more enticing to the child by describing the faeries as having their own ‘faery vats, full of berries, and of reddest stolen cherries’, bold red as indication to the faeries’ world being entirely different from the world that the child lives in, and how the faeries could bring escape into the child’s life and allow the child to experience the world away from normality, evidenced by the faeries in their constant drone to ‘Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild’, far away and distant.  The mixed rhyming scheme employed by Yeats further enhances the mystical effect of the faerie’s voices; the voices becoming almost chant-like, a hypnotic drone in the background.  

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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 ...

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