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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.33 pp.227-246

Blake, Yeats, and Bishop: The Speaker in the Poems of Children

Rhee Beau La


Blake, Yeats, and Bishop wrote poetry about children from a child’s perspective,to make us take a closer look at our behaviors, thoughts, and society. Both Yeats’s“The Stolen Child” and Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Innocencejuxtapose two different worlds, and the child in each poem is associated with theideal world of our dream. For Blake, the other world as opposed to this world ischaracterized by perfection filled with love and compassion, which only God cancreate. Yeats’s “The Stolen Child,” on the other hand, is not characterized by goodversus evil; the world we inhabit, though full of sufferings, has traces of beautythat God has given to humanity. Yeats makes us reminisce about our childhoodwhen we were innocent, suggesting that the key to happiness in our daily lives canbe found there. Bishop furthers the device of childhood reminiscence with anemphasis on human perceptions, making a psychological approach to her poems,“The First Death in Nova Scotia,” “Sestina,” and “Manners”; hence, the perspectiveof her child speaker is much more complicated so as to reveal human conditions.We have to find out what the actual world looks like in the poem by inferringwhat the child gives. Because the psychology of the child is not explained byanyone else in the poem, we place ourselves in child’s perspective and compare theexperiences from an adult’s point of view. All the poems about children discussedin this paper are really about adults.


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