Broken Dreams – W.B Yeats.

Originally posted on The Room of Requirement.:

‘Broken Dreams’ by W.B Yeats is a poem which discusses the abstract themes of time, afterlife, ageing, death, and unrequited love. This poem has no stanzas and therefore is deemed as a long monologue where Yeats discusses Maud Gonne using past, present, idealised and transient images of her to highlight his different feelings for her. He discusses her perfections and even her imperfections being perfect he does this by adapting to the romantic way of writing and therefore see Gonne transformed to something like a myth.

The varying length of this single stanza helps contribute to the unplanned feeling, and the shifting focus of the rhyme scheme gives an almost stream-of-consciousness feel to the poem, which could also link to ‘The Cold Heaven‘. The rhyme at the start of the poem is tight,  it then becomes more ranged, distant and weak. This may suggest the drama of ageing and…

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Does the poem merit consideration in terms of ideas about the representation of gender and what comparisons could be made between the images of male and female here and in other poems by Yeats?

In Leda and The Swan, males are shown as being dominant, powerful, and in a way all-knowing; where as females are related to naivety and weakness.
Zeus, a Greek God, attracts the daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius and the wife of king Tyndareus of Sparta, Leda; by abusing his powers to transform him into a swan who fell into her for protection from an eagle before raping her. Zeus is known to be a powerful yet careful and in a way ‘gentle’ Immortal, however he is shown in this poem to be quite the opposite; like the way of the swan having two sides.
Leda, however; has been shown in myths as a strong female, but when overpowered by Zeus, again this is the opposite; she shown her strength at first for ‘protecting’ him though failing to help herself when attacked,

“How can those terrified fingers push the feathered glory from her loosening thighs?”

This quote implies that she is weakening, and beginning to give up.

The swan to Leda is portrayed as ring superior in strength as she is caught

“In a sudden blow…her name in his bill”

This projects a male as a fully-dominating character and the female yields the circumstances.

Reposed from Drafts (The Color Purple)

Unfortunately due to a terrible laptop and the worst blog ever created, all of my blogs have been sent to drafts and therefore I am having to repost every single one. Sorry about that.

In English Literature we are currently reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel (this means written in a number of documents/ diary entries) containing occasional explicit content and violence.

The book represents the good things in life for men and women to enjoy, beginning around 30 years before World War Two. The story follows a (barely educated) black girl named Celie through 30 years of her life via diary entries to God.
She discusses her path to find happiness and love, however also discusses sexual objectification and violence towards her and other women which was normal for a 20th century female. The Color purple also tells the reader about those (using Celie as an example) that are too pre-occupied with their image to enjoy little things in life, for example the color purple. Celie then goes on to re-create her vision of God to one which she can connect to and in turn feels better about herself and take ownership of her life.

So far I am incredibly intrigued by The Color Purple and I cannot wait to finish the book.

The Belated September 1913.

I swear my laptop hates me so I’m having to do this one at a time (oh my.) so here it is, September 1913 by W.B. Yeats!

September 1913

W.B. Yeats

September 1913 is a contemporary poem written by W.B. Yeats from the collection “Responsibilities”. The poems name changed from being originally written as “Romance in Ireland” to show how hard-hitting these events in 1913 we’re; before the war began.

The first stanza of September 1913 explains how religion is a ‘waste of time’, by saying that all were “Born to pray”, not praying voluntarily.

The essence of greed from the Catholics is also shown in the poem, explaining how the Catholics were responsible for the apathy of the Irish,

The tone of the poem in the first stanza is very much mocking towards the Catholics; and also very ironic. Yeats has wrote this in a “You all go to church but you’re:”

“Drying the marrow from the bone”

tone. He also mentions the Catholics ‘draining’ the money from the Irish by using “And add the half pence to the pence” as the third line in his poem.

“What need you, being come to sense” directly speaks to the audience, this being middle-class ‘greedy’ workers creating a greater impact than third-person narrative would.

There are many devices used, however the main device used in this prom is rhetorical question. For example the first line of the poem “what need you, being come to sense”. The first stanza is also both bitter and angry, with mocking tones. For example; “Shivering prayer”, these adjectives with informality showing anger and Sardonic language.

The rhyme scheme throughout the poem is alternate line (ABAB) maintaining a spiteful but conversational tone. Yeats also mentions that they should be born to fight as opposed to being born to pray, and also a reminder of contrast (“O’Leary in the grave”).

O’Leary was an activist, a strong fatherly figure… However Ireland’s now weak, contrast to O’Leary but the same in the regard of the “Old Ireland” being dead and now weak. There are 8 lines in each stanza, showing consistency and stability not only in Yeats’ life, but also in Ireland as a whole.

Yeats is also trying to stop the Catholics from being interested in themselves; instead he wants them to focus on Ireland, their nation. “Of a different kind” shows that as they are only interested in themselves, they are alienated from the others in Ireland and even from Ireland itself (as though they don’t belong there)

During the first and second stanzas, more rhetorical questions are added, drawing the reader back with heavy punctuation beneath enjambment. Along with this, Yeats is asking the audience “They were fighting, why aren’t you?”; this also shows that he preferred the older generation as they fought, cared, they were classed as a different ‘adulatory’ breed brave for fighting and were heroes of the past, also showing his bitterness and anger for the Catholics. By using the following quotation:

Gave their life for us”

Yeats is also saying that the Catholics aren’t doing anything for about nothing and are hiding behind religion whilst selling the souls of the people, which he also mentions.

They have gone around the world like wind,”

The above quotation explains how those that fought became eradicated/ scattered, sent out and forgotten as they aren’t metaphorically here any-more (simile) and have been left behind, in a tone of ‘you’ve gone and took the bravery of Ireland with you’

Each stanza is simple with a ‘to-the-point’ meaning. This is monosyllabic, Yeats also showing how all the nations have been ‘hit’ by what’s happened.

Was it for the wild geese spread

The grey wing upon every tide;

For this that all that blood was shed,

For this Edward Fitzgerald died,

And Robert Emmett and Wolfe Tone,”

The first five lines of the third stanza show how each leader died in vain, solely forgotten. The wild geese spreading shows the Irish Immigration, exiled to Spain, Australia, the USA, carrying on the Irish Cause; supporting people of their country.

The wild geese also included those who couldn’t fight for their country due to their Catholicism.

Edward Fitzgerald, Robert Emmett, and Wolfe Tone all fought for nationalism/ the Catholic cause. This then brings us back to the second stanza where it states what they did to fight yet it is wasted, forgotten about. He states this in the tone of ‘We should behave like Rob, O’Leary, Wolf, Edward, if they came back they’d be disgusted. They’re safe, they can’t witness the apathy of the Irish’.

There is also Romanticism in this stanza; stating that they fought for a cause, leaving them there as they’ve moved on as Ireland is being forced to. However, Yeats is also explaining how their souls have lived on, and how these heroes should still be praised, their life running through others after them.

You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair”

The following quotation is a Personification of Morde Gonne; a freedom fighter of the country.


“Once upon a time in Thornfield…” a tale as old as time

If you have not recognised the fairytale-like quote, my favourite novel is Jane Eyre :) I must have read it about eighty times oh my.

Read to me by my mother as a child, I have grown up to love Jane, the main character of the novel written by Charlotte Brontë for a number of reasons. To me Jane Eyre is a heroine. Not only is she honest and strong, but she is also passionate. Along with this, Charlotte Brontë created Jane’s image originally to not be beautiful. Eyre was created as a fairly ‘plain’ girl, with not much interesting about her, however she is beautiful by her actions, not her looks. This to me creates a whole new definition of beauty, as many believe beauty to be physical features.
The novel consists of five different stages of Jane’s life; beginning at Jane’s childhood, then progressing stagely to her adult life. The novel is divided into thirty-eight chapters; the original novel consiting of three volumes. I however have just one book containing all thirty-eight chapters.
The novel begins with an introduction of Jane, a ten-year-old orphaned girl who lives with her maternal Uncle’s family (due to the wish of her dying uncle), the Reed family. The readers are also told that the novel begins a number of years after her parents died of Typhus Disease.
The novel is based on Brontë’s experience of nursing the terminally ill; having to nurse her sister Maria until she passed away. This to me is very upsetting.
Jane’s relationships are a large part of the story, the most significant being her best friend Helen Burns, a girl slightly older than Jane with both a love and dedication for reading, made one of the saddest moments in the history of sad novel moments for me.
Helen Burns was a good friend of Jane, however suffering from the Flu, Typhus (alike Jane’s passed parents), Consumption, and finally a heart attack.
Helen’s last moments were with Jane, discussing God’s existance and the idea of afterlife:

“Where is God? What is God?”

“My Maker and yours, who will never destroy what he created. I rely implicitly on his power, and confide wholly in his goodness: I count the hours till that eventful one arrives which shall restore me to him, reveal him to me.”

“You are sure, then, Helen, that there is such a place as heaven; and that our souls can get to it when we die?”

“I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to him without any misgivings. God is my father; God is my friend: I love him; I believe he loves me.”

“And shall I see you again, Helen, when I die?”

“You will come to the same region of happiness; be received by the same mighty, universal Parent, no doubt, dear Jane.”

Again I questioned; but this time only in thought. “Where is that region? Does it exist?” And I clasped my arms closer around Helen; she seemed closer to me than ever; I felt as if I could not let her go; I lay with my face hidden on her neck. Presently she said in the sweetest tone,‹

“How comfortable I am! That last fit of coughing has tired me a little; I feel as if I could sleep: but don’t leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me.” “I’ll stay with you, dear Helen: no one shall take me away.”

“Are you warm, darling?”


“Good-night, Jane.”

“Good-night, Helen.”

She kissed me, and I her, and we both soon slumbered.
I was eleven when I read the end of chapter nine (above) on my own, my mother skipping this part when I was younger understandably. I ran downstairs “crying my eyes out” as I put it at the time in my diary and I still cry reading that part.
It is even sadder to have researched it two years ago for another English project; finding that Charlotte Brontë created Helen in memorial to her sister Maria, who passed away before her eyes as I have previously stated.
The end of the novel is on a happy note, after two years of Jane Eyre being married to Mr. Rochester (of which will be explained in another blog sometime soon as I seem to be rambling on) finally becomes a joyful one, and although the Hall was up in flames and Rochester appears to be uglier than ever, I could say Eyre and Rochester lived happily ever after! However you would have to read the story to come up with a judgement yourself.
I do most definitely insist that you read this novel, and I’d 110% insist in buying it, as you will read it again and again. Jane Eyre even to this day is not only timeless, but rare to be powerful by charm alone.