What is Wordsworth's depiction of death in the poem "We Are Seven"?

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In "We Are Seven", a little girl refuses to believe her two siblings are dead. The speaker insists that they have died, but the girl insists that they are in heaven.

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In "We are Seven," Wordsworth uses the perceptions of an innocent young girl to convey an idea that the death of the physical body is not the end of a person's existence.

The speaker runs into an eight-year old girl with a wild, rustic air about her. He asks her...

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how many brothers and sisters she has, and she explains to him that there are seven in her family. She includes in that number two that have gone to sea and two that are buried in the churchyard.

The speaker argues that if two are dead, there are only five siblings in the family. But the little girl will have none of that. The speaker insists that the two dead children are in heaven, but the girl talks of visiting their graves where she sews, knits, eats her supper, and plays with her brother John. The dead children are as much a part of her life as if they were alive. Death to her is not the end, just part of a larger continuum.

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What is Wordsworth's concept of childhood and death in "We Are Seven"?

In "We Are Seven," as in many of his poems, Wordsworth presents children as possessing a kind of primal wisdom which they gradually lose on growing up.

In his arrogance, the speaker naturally assumes that the little girl has no real understanding of death. After all, she talks about her dead siblings as if they were still alive. Yet as the speaker probes more deeply, it becomes apparent that the little girl knows a lot more about death than he originally thought. Whereas the speaker becomes ever more exasperated by the girl's constant insistence that "we are seven", she herself remains composed throughout, serene in the knowledge that her departed siblings are as present to her now as they were when they were alive.

The little cottage girl's superior wisdom is intimately related to her simple, childish faith in the benevolence of God. She is sure that the Almighty will provide her dead brother and sister with paradise in eternity to compensate for all the privation they endured in this life. It is clear that Wordsworth laments the loss of such an attitude among adults and that it is only by attempting to reconnect with the wisdom of childhood that we can begin to deal more effectively with grief and personal loss.

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