Do any of Yeats’ poems connect with your own personal experience? Select one of Yeats’ poems (or a section thereof) and discuss how the poem connects with your own understanding of the world in which we live.

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William Butler Yeats’ poem “A Prayer for my Daughter,” written in 1919, is an amazing poem that reveals the anxieties that Yeats had for the future wellbeing of his newborn daughter, Anne. This notion powerfully reflects the worries shared by all fathers that were torn by war and greed in the 20th century.

As Anne sleeps under her “cradle-hood and coverlid,” Yeats portrays that she is filled innocence and is vulnerable to the world (Yeats, line 2). This is further evident through the metaphor of a storm with “roof-leveling winds,” which symbolises the political turmoil caused by the Irish War of Independence in Ireland (Yeats, line 5).

As a father, Yeats seeks to protect his daughter during these harsh times by giving her a life of beauty, innocence, safety and security. This is demonstrated as he prays for his daughter to be “granted beauty and yet not Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught” (Yeats, line 18). The personification of a stranger’s “distraught” eye reiterates that beauty can be “distracting and destructive” when trying to form relationships. This explores the importance for one to obtain inner beauty, rather than physical beauty, in order to find natural companionship.

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Image 2: This is the tower where Yeats wrote his poem “A Prayer for my Daughter,” two days after Anne’s birth on February 26, 1919.

The ideas that Yeats presents within his poem reminds me of a famous quote from Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind,” William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This quote deals with the plays ideas that love does not look with reason (the eye), instead, it looks with the imagination (the mind).

The Globe is streaming 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for free for the next  fortnight
Image 3: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre

Moreover, these texts are able to reflect the “obsession” that our current society has with physical beauty throughout social media platforms, magazines and television. Jean Baudrillard, a French cultural theorist also has a theory that the artificial world and reality is blurred due to media infestations within our minds (Ljubomir, 120). Therefore, I personally believe that individuals should not be influenced to try and meet society’s expectations of what is considered “beautiful” because it can strip their sense of identity and individuality within the world. Everyone is unique and BEAUTIFUL in their own way!

Image 4: Social Media

We must learn to accept each other’s difference because it will make a “better tomorrow” and world for future generations. Furthermore, after reading this poem, I was able to see that I have a connection to Yeats’ passion for morality and purity, rather than arrogance and false conceptions within society.

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Click the link below to watch a short biography of William Butler Yeats:

Works Cited List

Masirevic, Ljubomir. “Media and Postmodern Reality.” Sociologija 52.2 (2010): 127-40. Web. URL: https://acu-eduprimo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/sb9f4f/TN_proquest128364080

William Butler Yeats, “A Prayer for My Daughter.” 1921. Poetry Foundation. Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. URL: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/14635/a-prayer-for-my-daughter

Image 1: “Goodreads”. Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. URL: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22912364-a-prayer-for-my-daughter

Image 2: Thoor “Ballylee. Yeets Thoor Bayley Society”. Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. Image retrieved from: https://yeatsthoorballylee.org/

Image 3: “Globe Player.” Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. URL: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/a-midsummer-night-s-dream-english

Image 4: Social Media. “Web Design Hub.” Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. retrieved from: https://www.webdesignerhub.com/beautiful-social-media-icons-use-website/

Image 5: Margaret, Mead. “Margaret Mead> Quotes > Quotable Quote.” Goodreads, Web. Accessed 20 September 2020. URL:https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/61107.Margaret_Mead.

4 thoughts on “Do any of Yeats’ poems connect with your own personal experience? Select one of Yeats’ poems (or a section thereof) and discuss how the poem connects with your own understanding of the world in which we live.

  1. holly192000 says:

    Hi Teannie,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post! Your analysis of the poem captures powerfully the “anxieties that Yeats had for the future wellbeing of his baby daughter” and his need to protect her from the world. I liked how you conveyed the importance of inner beauty and made connections to a quote from Shakespeare’s, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and also the play itself. This was very interesting! I also thought it was great how you wrote about the expectations of beauty in society and how it can shape an individual’s outlook on life and themselves. It was great how you showed your appreciation for Yeats’ passion for “morality and purity” but it would perhaps have been good to add a little bit more of a personal touch. Nevertheless, it was still very interesting to read.

    Well Done!

    Like

  2. DelauraCauchi says:

    Te’annie,
    A great response packed with analysis, reflection, textual references, and so much more. Your ability to maximise the words used is astounding as you provided so much information and evidence that was ALL relevant. Also, your use of images breaks up the response: such a great way to convey your message. Your lack of first person until the last paragraph also provides some sophistication to the text. A really good read, thank you.

    Like

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