One more Exposition of William Wordsworth’s poem “We Are Seven” is here. I have numbered such Expositions in order to show my preparedness to give in succession many more such Posts in future. My Readers, if interested in original text of the Poem, may click here.
In the beginning, I would like to give you the summary of the poem on topic and thereafter the exposition or criticism will follow.
The poet meets a simple cottage girl in the Churchyard who is only eight years old. She is so delicate that at her childhood age, she is not aware of what death is. The poet asks her, ‘How many brothers and sisters may you be?’ Gazing towards the poet in surprise, the girl replies, ‘How many? Seven in all!’
The poet further asks, ‘Where are they?’
‘Two of us at Conway dwell and two are gone to sea. Two of us, my sister and brother, lie in Churchyard and I dwell near them with my mother. Thus, we are seven.’ The girl’s one brother and one sister were already buried in the churchyard and they are counted by her in total number of seven as if they are alive!
Now, the poet tries to make the girl understand that she should not include those two who are already dead in the number of her brothers and sisters alive. The poet explains, ‘You run about, my little Maid; your limbs they are alive. If two are laid in the Churchyard, then you are only five.’
But the innocent girl continues arguing in many ways to justify her statement as follows:
– Their graves can be seen in greenery close to each other from her cottage.
– She often knits and hems her stockings and kerchief sitting near the graves and sometimes sings song to them.
– Many times she takes her supper there in the evening thinking that they accompany her.
– Firstly her sister, Jane had died and both her brother John and she played there near her grave.
– After some time, John also had died and his grave was made side by side.
After hearing her clear statement, the poet once again asks her the same question, but she answers firmly in the same words as ‘We are seven!’ The poet still argues that they are already dead and they are in heaven, but all his efforts are in vain. She is determined in her belief that they are seven, seven and seven.
Above poem seems to be a child poem looking towards its simplicity and lucidity at the first glance, but there is the combat of justification and falsification from the sides of the poet and the girl character of the poem respectively. The poet tries to justify that all they brothers and sisters are five in real sense, but the girl is firm in her statement that they are seven. Central idea of the poem is that any deceased dear one is never forgotten by the living person owing to mutual strong tie-up with the thread of love and affection. The living person thinks as if the deceased is alive. Here, the girl already knows that her brother and sister are no more. She knows also that their physical appearance is not visible, but she feels that they are alive in her memory.
Life and death are the truths of nature. Nobody can deny them and how we can deny when we hear of numerous children newly born and many people of any age equally dying around the world. Old go and new come; it’s the cycle of the universe. Life is life until we die and it is the very fact that the life is going to end one day. We exactly don’t know what becomes of the deceased; but, we obviously know what impacts, little or more, fall on the living relatives of the deceased ones.
My friends, my exposition of the poem – ‘We are seven’ is over here; but as usual, I won’t forget to give you a very interesting quote of Morion Howard as ‘Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.’
Hopefully, you would have enjoyed my post.
– Valibhai Musa