Why is the Fairy realm more alluring than the fictitious world in "The Stolen Child"? It is not proven that the fairy world is better than the fictitious world of the poem, yet the child leaves his...

Why is the Fairy realm more alluring than the fictitious world in "The Stolen Child"? It is not proven that the fairy world is better than the fictitious world of the poem, yet the child leaves his real world. Why? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The fairies believe that their world is more alluring than the child's world because it spares him the loss that inevitably awaits.

There is nothing conclusively proven about which world is better.  We really have only the fairies' words: 

Come away, O human child! / To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand. / For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

The fairies are quick to say that the child's world is "full of weeping than you can understand."  The reader must assess if the fairies are right.  Yeats's genius in the poem is that he does not tell us which is better.  For example, if one sees maturation in the child's world as a good thing, than the fairies' is not necessarily better.  However, if one is inclined to see a great amount of "weeping" in the real world, then the fairy world might indeed be better.

The poem contains Romantic undertones.  Some of these can be seen in its reverence for nature, the belief that maturation robs intrinsic innocence from children, and the potential for transformation in the supernatural.  These elements might be persuasive in suggesting that the fairy world is better than the child's world.  This could be confirmed through the child's "solemn eyed" approach.  The child knows that the world he lives in is one of intense pain.  Therefore, an entrance into any other world would be an improvement.

It is in this potential that the fairy world might be more alluring than the fictitious world.  However, Yeats deliberately leaves it open for us to wonder what world is actually stealing the child: the world of the fairies who take the boy or the real world whose misery will take his hope and innocence.

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