Discuss the theme of childhood innocence in the poem "The Railway Children" by Seamus Heaney.

The theme of childhood innocence is developed in "The Railway Children" through symbolic images of light and by focusing on the limitless imagination often found in childhood.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this poem, an adult world is seen through a child's perspective, full of the possibilities of imagination.

The speaker travels with a group, noted by the plural first person used throughout the poem. One can envision this little group of children scampering up a slope when suddenly, they are all eye-level with a technological wonder: the telegraph. This technology has faded from our modern society, but a quick image search will provide the structure needed to understand the visual of the "white cups" along the tops of these poles.

In an interview, Heaney noted that in his childhood, around the turn of the twentieth century,...

(The entire section contains 320 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on