Is Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" positive or negative? Explain.

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The speaker in this poem yearns to return to the island of Innisfree because of the peace and quiet it affords. He can escape the noise of the city and be lulled by the "lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore." On this small island, he can return to nature by growing beans and having bee hives, by enjoying the "purple haze" of noon, the sounds of birds' wings, and, of course, the bees. He can even build a cabin and stay on the island much as Thoreau, the American Transcendentalist, lived on Walden Pond. Everything the speaker describes implies is positive.

Innisfree is a real island near Sligo in Ireland where Yeats spent many of his summers with his grandparents. He could row out to the island and spend some time in solitude. As an adult, he recalls these peaceful memories. 

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't actually think this whatsover, but it is always interesting to look at things from another perspective! Do you not actually think that the poem could be interpreted as being negative? It seems to celebrate an escape from the responsibilities of life as the speaker spends his time day dreaming as he wanders around his city life. There is definitely an unhealthy element of escapism that could affect the speaker's work. Anybody else agree? As I said I do not agree with this view and I love this poem too...

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of my favorite poems!  The tone of this poem can be interpreted in a few different ways.  Most would say it has a positive tone.  Some would say it is rather wistful.  I think it is somewhere in between, quite frankly.  The isle provides the narrator of the poem with a sense of tranquility and peace, things he does not have while he is in the city.  The narrator is commenting about this place and he appears to be longing for it once again.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think The Lake Isle Of Inisfree is a positive poem because of the last line 'in the deep heart's core.' To me this emphasises Yeats deep and profound affinity with the island, Ireland and it's landscape. It is almost as if he's saying his feelings, and man's relationship with the beauty of nature are eternal and fixed. To me there is something very solid, grounded and positive about that - because that's how I feel about those things too.

biscuitraider | Student

I think Yeats in 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'is positive because he talks about the splendours of nature

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

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