Summary and Analysis of We Are Seven by Wordsworth

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INTRODUCTION TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH-William Wordsworth is one of the major literary figures of all times, in the history of English literature. Wordsworth collaborated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge in ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’ marking the start of the Romantic era. William Wordworth’s works are enjoyed by both youngsters and adults and he surely remains as one of the most important and favoured poet.

WE ARE SEVEN–“We are Seven” by William Wordsworth is a very simple composition that portrays the loving innocence of an eight-year-old girl.

SETTING OF WE ARE SEVEN- The poem does not specify any physical location. It can be assumed that the poem is set in the countryside in Britain.

POETIC DEVICES IN WE ARE SEVEN-

ALLITERATION-  “Yet ye are seven!–I pray you tell”

BALLAD- The poem has been composed in the form of a ballad.

REPETITION-

“Seven in all,”

“O Master! we are seven.”

RHYME SCHEME OF WE ARE SEVEN-

“I met a little cottage Girl:  (A)

She was eight years old, she said; (B)

Her hair was thick with many a curl  (A)

That clustered round her head.”  (B)

SUMMARY OF WE ARE SEVEN-

The speaker of the poem begins by asking a simple question of what should an innocent child know about death. The speaker then starts by telling that he met a little cottage girl, she was eight years old and her head was covered in curly hair. The little girl was very beautiful, she smelled of woodland air and her eyes were crystal clear, she wore her heart in her eyes, “fair eyes” being an indicative of the innocence present in the child. The speaker asks the girl how many siblings does she have, she replies “we are seven” and looks at the speaker curiously. The speaker then asks the girl where her sisters and brothers are, she says there are seven of them, two are in Conway dwell (a town), two have gone to sea, two lie in the church yard while she lives near them in a cottage with her mother.

The speaker then counts the number of siblings, excluding the two who have died, he asks the little girl that when two are in Conway, two in the sea, then how are they seven in number. The girl replies that they are seven boys and girls with two lying in the church yard beneath the church yard tree. The speaker then argues with the little girl, he says to the girl that she is alive, she has limbs and can run while two are lying in the church yard, that makes for five siblings. The girl argues that her siblings’ graves are green, they have grass and moss living on their graves, they can be seen side by side and reached if one goes about twelve steps from her mother’s cottage’s door.

She tells the speaker that she often visits them, she knits her stocking and hangs her handkerchief there, she sits on the ground, singing them songs. She tells that often during night time, she takes her supper and eats while sitting beside her siblings. She informs the speaker that her sister Jane was the first one to die, she was sick and moaning in pain when God came and took her with him. She and her brother John used to play around her grave that was covered with dry grass. She then tells that during winters, she used to play, slide and run in the snow with John but he got sick too and was forced to go, he now lies at Jane’s side. The speaker then asks her that when two are in heaven, how many siblings are they, the girl quickly replies “we are seven”. The speaker irritatingly argues saying that they are dead, their spirits are in heaven, but the girl adamantly says, “Nay, we are seven”.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF WE ARE SEVEN-

This beautiful composition by Wordsworth portrays the innocence, love and the optimism a child has. The poem understood from both the views, that of an adult and a child, provides varying perspectives of the most grieved and feared, death.

TONE OF WE ARE SEVEN- The tone of the poem is calm, sweet and assertive in the dialogues of the little girl, while it is calm and at times expressing frustration and irritation in the dialogues of the speaker.

CONCLUSION- This beautiful poem makes the readers see the perspective of an innocent child towards death, her love and her ever lasting bond with her siblings invokes the feelings of happiness, hope, and positivity.

Contributor: Radhika Goel

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