Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

"We Are Seven" describes an encounter between the speaker, arguably Wordsworth himself, and a little girl with curly hair and a "woodland" air. The little girl is eight years old.

The speaker asks the little girl how many sisters and brother she has, to which the little girl replies that she and her siblings "are seven." When the speaker asks where these siblings are, the little girl says that two of them are in Conway, two have gone to sea, and two are in the churchyard.

The speaker asks how, in this case, the girl can say there are seven children. The little girl reiterates that two of the seven are in the churchyard, to which the speaker says patiently that if there are two children buried in the churchyard, that makes only five siblings.

The little girl counters that she can see the graves a mere twelve steps from her mother's door. They are side by side, and she often sits on the graves to knit, sew her kerchiefs, and sing to the lost children. She also sometimes goes to sit there and eat her supper.

She describes the two children as Jane, who was "released" from "pain" by God, and John, with whom she played around Jane's grave before John also died.

The speaker asks again how many siblings there are, if two of them are in heaven, but the little girl is adamant that they are still seven. She is too young and innocent, the poet implies, to believe that her siblings are no longer with her just because they have died.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access