Thursday, November 6, 2014

Analysis of "A Crazed Girl" by William Butler Yeats

Poem found here: "A Crazed Girl" by William Butler Yeats


So when I reread this poem, the pop image that came to my mind was Sia's video "Chandelier".  Beautiful, artistic, but looks crazed.

It's not that the girl in this poem is "crazed" -- this doesn't define her -- rather what is the cause of the "crazed emotion."  And, this poem being a bit vers libre and a but reverse sonnet, proclaims here core passion, "That crazed girl improvising her music / Her poetry, dancing upon the shore."  Her music, her poetry.

Note the first stanza is more of an interpretation of her actions from the speaker upon seeing her art, "Her soul in division from itself / Climbing, falling she knew not where, / Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship."  Note how the speaker starts creating a narrative of this crazed girl as to understand her actions, "Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare / A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing / Heroically lost, heroically found."  What he impresses onto her is the idea of heroism on going through the narrative.  Maybe the narrative is true.  Maybe the narrative is something the speaker concocted, but in any case the speaker sees something heroic, something beyond her -- a symbol, an art.

"No matter what disaster occurred / She stood in desperate music wound, / Wound, wound,"  What gets me is the repetition of "wound" which shows the subject as either being hurt or being vulnerable, or both, but the speaker sees this as something heroic -- this girl stands with regardless of her wounds "and she made in her triumph"

The shift in image kind of pulls back from the crazed girl and looks at her surrounding or rather the effect that happens around her, "Where the bales and the baskets lay / No common intelligible sound / But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.'"  A part of me wants to focus on the sea imagery and how lonely it sounds, just like the scene where no one is around her (or understand her sound).  But there's a certain sense of individual with this crazed girl.  The speaker sees her as heroic in her individuality.  But perhaps, she actually feels alone like the sea.  Impressions are one things, but quoting what the girl "actually" says is another.

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