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In the poem "We Are Seven" by William Wordsworth, what does he admire in the child's...

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user3120320 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 9, 2013 at 4:19 AM via iOS

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In the poem "We Are Seven" by William Wordsworth, what does he admire in the child's perspective in this poem?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:18 AM (Answer #1)

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In the poem "We are Seven," Wordsworth clearly admires the little girl's faith in the things unseen. The little girl still feels a very physical and spiritual bond with a brother and a sister of hers that have already passed away. We see her illustrate her bond when she explains that there are seven children in her family in all, but two already "in the church-yard lie" (21). She further expresses the bond she still feels with even the two deceased siblings when she explains that she still spends as much time with them as she can, such as singing to their graves, knitting by them, hemming, and even eating her dinner, as we see in the lines:

My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them. (41-44)

Honoring the dead can be seen as a noble trait, especially for a young girl, because it shows her spirituality; it shows that she understands that even though she can no longer physically see her deceased brother and sister, their spirits live on through her faith.

While Wordsworth is clearly portraying this as an admirable trait, the speaker of the poem is also obviously perplexed. We see his perplexity when he insists that as a living soul the girl should only count the living, as we see in his lines:

You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five. (32-35)

By insisting that she is only a member of five siblings total, he is showing his perspective that she should only count and consider the living, not the dead, or that the corporeal is what is important, not the spiritual. The speaker even continues to show his perplexity and his disagreement in the little girl's view when he ends by saying, "'Twas throwing words away; for still / The little Maid would have her will" (67-68).

Hence, while Wordsworth admires the girl's perspective, the speaker fails to understand it, showing us just what a complex and important perspective it is.

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