Poetic Analysis Of 

"Among School Children"

             Introduction            Section One            Section Two            

Section Three            Section Four            Conclusion

Both nuns and mothers worship images,
But those the candles light are not as those
That animate a mother's reveries,
But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
And yet they too break hearts--O Presences
That passion, piety or affection knows,
And that all heavenly glory symbolize--
O self-born mockers of man's enterprise;

            This section deals largely with the issue of love and expectation. There are two distinct different types of love—a motherly love, an earthly, and a religious love, like the nun’s love. In their respective ways, these two figures have an object of worship. But, like the nun’s eventual disappointment with God and the mother’s eventual disappointment with her child, overly high expectations bring nothing but discontent. Yeats is saying that everyone who worships any type of perfection, either earthly, or heavenly, will become “self-born mockers of man’s enterprise.”



Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

            In the final stanza, Yeats recognizes that although people are the sum of their separate deeds, life is an amalgamation of actions. Instead of viewing life in parts, like “the leaf, the blossom, or the bole,” Yeats argues for one, united view of life. Like one’s inability to separate the “dancer from the dance” (64), one cannot separate life from death. These two parts are not independent. Instead, they are one in the same. No one has life, without death. So, one should not view them independently, choosing to takes all areas of life in one wide swath.