Get help now

Summary: A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler



  • Pages 13
  • Words 3010
  • Views 449
  • Can’t find relevant credible information

    Let our experts help you

    Get help now

    This poem was penned after the World War as ended and the phase where he is a dangerous one which makes him worried about the future and how her daughter will fit in. The innocence and vulnerability Of his daughter is well symbolized by the words “coverlet” and “cradle-hood” which shows how protected she is in her cradle. The theme of A Prayer for My Daughter is a significant portrayal of the violent forces that surrounds the baby; something that she is ignorant of and is still unaffected or unmoved.

    The several different forces which pose a threat for the baby; famine, riots, starvation, violence is a sharp contrast to her innocence knowledge that protects her as she sleeps on, The second stanza of the poem continues to head on and progress still depicting the gloominess of the poets mind and that he is worried about his daughter; Anne, (“l have walked and prayed tort this young child an hour).

    The usage to the term “Flooded stream” represents the idea of A prayer for My Daughter as the poet continues to explain how worried he is at the existence of the troublemakers in the society and in this world as he talks about the “elms” that are tossed out by the destructive forces. The tone of the poem reflected in the summary of A Prayer for My Daughter y William Butler Yeats is one of frenetic and chaotic in nature where human emotions are on display.

    However, the poem does experience a sudden shift of mood when the poet employing his power of imagination fancies how he would help his daughter that gradually puts down his worries to rest for some time. Further, it also grants the poem a pessimistic mood, and all Of a sudden Yeats seems to be excited about the impending future. (imagining… The future years had come/Dancing to a frenzied drum. ” Ann.’s life Will pass in chaos. “Dancing to a frenzied drum”). The passing years when his daughter grows up into a girl is echoed in the drum beats Which is both responsible for the rhythm and tempo that is important in one’s life.

    In the summary of A prayer for my daughter by Williwaw Butler Yeats, the innocence of the baby is juxtaposed in a contrasting flavor; “murderous”, Her world is her sea all around and it’s evil and bodes ill for one and all. The usage of “murderous” makes the sea even more dangerous as the poet feels that there are people in this society who would try to manipulate and mold his daughters mind and might do evil things to her. Yeats also talks bout her beauty which he feels Will be her strength and give her the feeling Of fulfillment and help her make a better of character in times to come.

    At the same time, he also prays to God to retain her feminine innocence so that she can shake off all negative virtues that reside within a human being and emerge strong and decisive in her won good mannered way. Yeats refers to the Story Of Helen Of Troy who had married a stupid man called Paris and that her life was doomed in a certain way as she wasn’t a good judge of character. In the following stanza of the poem, Yeats wants her daughter to be courteous and polite, benevolent and lawful and that she must know that love doesn’t come freely; one has to earn it in the right way. “Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned. ” ) A Prayer for My Daughter: William Butler Yeats This poem was written by William Butler Yeats for his infant daughter, Anne. He worries about her. Maude Gonne was a radical, opinionated intelligent woman he had loved, but who had rejected his proposals. In this poem he vents his thoughts on her. Georgia Hyde Lees was his wife. Nag 4 Atari A Prayer for my Daughter by WE. Yeats: An Analysis by Claire Woo Stanza 1: The weather is a reflection of Yeats’ feelings. The post-war period was dangerous.

    Ann.’s vulnerability and innocence is symbolized by the “cradle- hood” and “coverlet. ” “And half hid” shows that Anne is barely protected by the frail “coverlet. ” Anne is oblivious to the violent forces around her; she is ignorant (she “sleeps on”; she is not awake to the violence around her), hence she is “under this cradle. Hood” which hides her and is unaffected. (The forces may be riots, violence, starvation, or decay of moral values. ) “Under this cradled and coverlet/My child sleeps on. ” Her ignorance protects her from the uneasy knowledge hence she “sleeps on. ” Robert Gregory died.

    His father could not protect him trot death. “The roof-leveling wind” is strong representing frightening, turbulent forces. Mere by the haystack- and roof-leveling wind,/red on the Atlantic, can be stayed,” ASSAI was more comfortable compared to Europe. Turbulent forces or “wind” was less significant and more controlled in the LISA Hence it ca be “stayed” or controlled. Yeats prays because he is gloomy; “great gloom Tone: Frightening, precarious, gloomy. In my mind,” Literary devices: personification – “the storm is howling” represents threatening external forces e. G. Riots, evilness.

    Roof-leveling wind represents turbulent forces. Symbols – ‘Storm” represents outside forces which threaten Manes safety. “cradled” represents Manes innocence and infancy. “coverlet” represents innocence and ignorance, frail protection. Find” represents turbulent forces, “one bare hill” may represent Roberts death. (Why is the hill bare? Replies are appreciated. ) The hill is empty, it may represent his death – there is no one to occupy it. Or it may BEA hill where his tombstone lies. As have said, have no idea. Metonymy – The author may be mistaken but “Atlantic” may be the United States of America.

    Rhyme scheme: backed Stanza 2: Yeats is worried about Anne. “Behave walked and prayed for this young child an weather reflects the threatening forces he fears. ‘Doodad stream” represents intense forces caused by people as it has strong forces. It is “flooded” because the troublemakers exist in large numbers or the forces are strong. The weather or external forces caused by the war are stormy and destructive. T He “elms” are tossed due to the destructive forces. People (possibly represented by “elm* are affected. Tone intense, anxious, frenetic, chaotic. This is rather desperate and pessimistic but there is a shift of mood.

    Imagining ” When Yeats starts to imagine, he helps his daughter; he decides how she should turn out. This appeases his worries and gives him new ideas and food for thought. He imagines how her torture will be excitedly. “Imagining… The future years had come/Dancing to a frenzied drum. ” Ann.’s life will pass in chaos, “Dancing to a frenzied drum” also indicates the passing years in Ann.’s life which are represented by drum-beats (which have rhythm and tempo) – which also symbolize violence and chaos. It is a violent and chaotic time. The drum is “frenzied” because of the danger and chaos around Anne.

    Furthermore, Yeats is excited (hence frenzied) for her to grow up. Ann.’s innocence is juxtaposed with the contrasting “sea” which is “murderous. ” The sea represents the world and the crowds around her, and as they are evil, destructive and take advantage of her innocence, they are “murderous? ‘ Moreover, the “sea” or the world is termed as “murderous innocence” because as part Of the “sea”, Ann.’s innocence is ‘murderous’ to herself because it enables others to manipulate her. Tone: frenetic, maddening, excited. Literary devices: symbols – “sea wind” , “flooded stream” – turbulent forces

    Personification – “future years dancing” – the passing years of life Juxtaposition/oxymoron/paradox – “murderous innocence of the sea” Sibilance – “sea-wind scream” Assonance:”sea-wind scream” Onomatopoeia – “scream” Stanza 3: Yeats hopes that Anne will be beautiful but not excessively. “May she be granted beauty and yet not,’tatty to make a strangers eye distraught. ” Beauty is distracting and destructive, because it causes an admirer to be “distraught” and unhappy as a result of this unfulfilled desire to possess this beauty. Besides, he may desire her negatively and steal her innocence.

    It inspires passion Vichy ay be hopeless. She should not be vain and conceited of her beauty. “Or hers before a looking-glass. ) Yeats fears that beauty will make her think that it is sufficient, for beauty would help her. Beautiful people being more attractive can benefit more, and With this attribute, Anne may think that she needs not perform acts of goodness, for her beauty is sufficient to place her in a position Of security and acceptance. This causes her to lose “natural kindness”. She does not see or appreciate the values of kindness and virtue. She would think herself superior and strive less without helping others.

    They do not have to be kind and espies the physically undesirable. Furthermore, their beauty allows them to be fastidious in their choice of partners, having many admirers. Hence, they do not choose the right person as they have no heart or soul, “Lose the heart- revealing intimacy/ That chooses right. ” They cannot love truly and care for veneer and shallow qualities, for they cannot truly feel or know who “the one” is. They are sought for. The right person would in the end be more drawn to a good worn as shown in stanza 5. “Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned. Beauty obstructs friendship as being as being beautiful causes one to be undiscerning, malicious and take things for granted. It causes the loss of human touch for the beautiful may tend to boast and despise their inferiors. They are not true friends. In another perspective, they do not form true friendships because others befriend them for the benefits derived from their appearance and even take advantage of them, The beautiful do not pay attention to those who make true friends as they believe themselves superior in beauty, fashion, etc. Etc. Furthermore, excessive beauty results in jealousy and broken friendships.

    Another point to make is that beauty that over-entices may decrease Ann.’s virtue and increase her vulnerability as Others Wish to use her. This is crucial as in this poem, Yeats emphasizes the need for feminine innocence. In contrast, a plainer person being on a lower hierarchy will appreciate the importance Of kindness. In this context, beauty is equated With societies shallowness. Tone: imploring, beseeching, prayer-like, reflective. Literary devices: personification – “strangers eye distraught” – attracts and saddens one who is attracted Symbol – the “stranger is an unhappy admirer.

    Alliteration – “strangers eye distraught”. Stanza 4 Yeats speaks of Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, being the most dutiful woman in the world, married Paris, a stupid man. Quote: “Helen being chosen found life flat and dull / And later had much trouble from a fool ” As she was greatly admired and revered for her beauty, life was boring with little strife. Inline that great queen, that rose out of the spray, ;being fatherless could have her Vass/ Yet chose a bandy-legged smith for man. ” Venus or Aphrodite, being fatherless, could marry as she pleased with no parental authority.

    Yet with all her power and advantages “chose a bandy-legged smith for man” (Hyphenates) – someone inferior to her. She had no father to guide her. Yeats intends to guide is daughter in the choice Of a suitable spouse. Yeats is scornful: cultured women make mad choices in spouses. “Fine women eat/ A crazy salad with their meat. ” Meat is substantial; salad is not. Meat represents a fine lady who can be said to be “substantial,” having numerous qualities; the “crazy salad” is their dreadful mate, who is devoid of many qualities. They can have more, but choose worse. The Horn of Plenty was a horn given by Zeus to his caretaker.

    The possessor of this Horn would be granted his wishes. Merely the Horn of Plenty is undone. ” This is because Maude Gonne squandered her gifts to intellect, grace and beauty ND the benefits she could command by marrying John McBride. She could obtain what she desired with these gifts – similar to the Horn to Plenty – and wasted the aforementioned gifts on McBride. As the Horn of Plenty could bring victuals, John McBride is symbolized as an unsubstantial “salad. ” Maude Gonne wasted her supposed power; she could have done better for herself, instead she made the wrong choice or desire. Tone: cynical, sad, troubled, scornful.

    Literary devices: symbol – “Helen”, “Queen” -? a beautiful cultured woman or Maude Gonne “Horn of plenty” – gifts, advantages. Metaphor – “crazy salad” -? an inferior spouse. Stanza 5: Yeats wants Anne to be courteous. Lou does not come freely and unconditionally. “Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned. ” Love is not inspired by mere physical beauty; it is earned by good efforts “by those Who are not entirely beautiful” who are kind and helpful. Those who have in stupidity made a fool Of themselves by hopelessly loving beautiful women and thought it was reciprocated. ‘Yet many, tat have played the fool/ For beauty very self. One may not be loved by a beautiful woman. ” “Charm” from a good woman has charmed a man eventually. “has charm made wise. He becomes “wise” by realizing the goodness of loving a good woman, Unsuccessful men have loved and are loved by kind women who make them happy, yet are not beautiful. “Loved and thought himself beloved/ From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes. ” She “cannot take his eyes” or navigate him by sight because she is not physically beautiful. But her kindness makes him glad. This could be a reference to Yeats’ wife Georgia Hyde Lees who was not beautiful, but they had a happy marriage.

    Georgia loved him and let him take the credit for her work. The persona praises good unfaithful women – like Georgia ho re more loved by men compared to harsh beautiful ones – Maude Gonne. Tome: reflective, advisory, grateful, enlightened. Literary devices: personification – “glad kindness cannot take his eyes” “charm made Wise. ” Symbol – *hearts” -? love. A Prayer for My Daughter : William Butler Yeats . Summary and Critical Analysis I A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats opens with an image of the new born child sleeping in a cradle. A storm is raging with great fury outside his residence.

    A great gloom is on Yeats mind and is consumed with anxiety as to how to protect his child from the tide of hard times ahead. The poet keeps walking and praying for the young child and as he does so he is in a state of reverie. He feels a kind of gloom and worry about the future of his daughter. I He says “As walk and pray for my younger daughter imagine in a state of excitement and reverie’ that the future years (years devotional and bloodshed and frenzy) have already come and that they seem to come dancing to the accompaniment of a drum which is beating frantically.

    These future years are seen by Yeats’ imagination as emerging out of the murderous (treacherous) innocence of the sea. In other words, the sea seems to be innocent but is capable f giving birth to those howling storms which are capable of leveling everything. I Yeats wants his daughter to possess some qualities so that she can face the future years independently and with confidence, Yeats says: Let her be given beauty but a more important thing is that her beauty should not be of a kind which may either make her proud of her beauty or distract a stranger’s mind and eyes.

    Those whose beauty is capable of making them proud consider beauty an end in itself. The result is that pride leads to their losing natural kindness in some cases of that heart revealing intimacy which helps them to make the right hooch in life. Being able to make the right choices in life is a very important thing but those who have excessive beauty are unable to do so and never find a good fried in the true sense Of the world. The great thing about the poem is that it has a specific as well as general applicability.

    At the same time the poem makes an indirect reference to Maude Gonne also whom Yeats loved so much and yet could not win her hand. The poet looks with in himself and finds that there is hatred inside. He thinks that hatred kills innocence and wishes that his daughter should not harbor hatred. It was because of this unwholesome bent of the mind hat Maude Gonne married a tool. The poet wished that her daughter should not cultivate a frantic intellect; he thinks that her daughter can remain innocent if she is tree tort hatred and intellectual fanaticism.

    The innocence is sell delighting, self-appeasing and self-freighting. The poet’s last wish is that his daughter should marry a person of aristocratic_ family who may take her to a home where tradition and ceremony fill the atmosphere, A prayer for his daughter can be interpreted for the restoration of order and grace in a battered civilization, In “The Second Coming”, Yeats had described his vision of the future oral torn by anarchy. Yeats believed, as he has expressed in “The Second Coming” that the Christian civilization had reached in its zenith and was disintegrating now.

    The prayer for his daughters survival becomes also a prayer for an improvement in the world. The term “ceremony” is a keyword in Yeats’ thought, and it involves not just formal ritual or courtesy but also order, grace and reverence. Yeats uses the word “ceremony” by associating it With the horn Of plenty, bestowed of all kind of virtue. It is facile to argue that the poem is not really a “prayer< or that Yeats is not praying for his "Christian virtues" for his daughter. Yeats wishes for organic innocence and freedom form hatred - the basis on which other virtues will inevitably grow.

    Summary: A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from

    Hi, my name is Amy 👋

    In case you can't find a relevant example, our professional writers are ready to help you write a unique paper. Just talk to our smart assistant Amy and she'll connect you with the best match.

    Get help with your paper