The Strength of a Family The main character of William Wordsworth's poem, 'We are Seven'; is an eight-year girl that knows more about devotion to her family the most adults ever know. It seems that author is who comes across this child on his journeys. He takes a liking to her right away and even thought, 'Her beauty made me glad. ' ; I quickly find out that she is one of seven brothers and sisters and she is the only one that is alive and still at home. I say alive, because she has a brother and sister that 'in the church-yard lie'; . The four others, presumably four brothers, have all grown up and moved away from home.
The entire poem is about the interactions of the man and this girl. For whatever reason, he asks her how many brothers and sisters she has. She tells him she has seven. He, of course, sees no other children running around so challenges her answer.
When he finds two are dead, he insists 'then ye are only five,' ; she stands firm in her belief that 'Nay, we are seven. ' ; Each verse goes back and forth with him trying to convince her that she is one of five and of her explaining to him why her brother and sister are still very much part of her life. One would expect this young child to be sad and heart-broken, yet she always comes across as strong willed, happy and quite grown up for her age. Before her brother and sister died, she recalls playing and running. Now she hems kerchiefs, knits stockings and eats her supper down by her bothers' and sisters' grave. All these activities and the mature manner in which she speaks, make us think she is an adult, when in fact she is eight.
She doesn't seem hardened or sad, but seems devoted. The man is even convinced that the girl is far to old for her age and comments once, 'You run about, my little Maid, / Your limbs they are alive'; The mood is always somber and serious, but seemed to have a slice of uplifting optimism in it as well. For she never spoke of them as dead and never mentioned them as separate from her. 'Two of us in the church-yard lie'; was her most explicit explanation of where they were. Perhaps she was cold and in denial of what had happened, one might say. For when her sister died the girl and her brother played together around her grave.
But we think that rather than denial or something unhealthy, it was simply the devotion. The strength of the family that loves one another with all their hearts was all she knew. This means forever to her and I'm sure her dead brother and sister would feel the same, if the misfortune had fallen upon her instead of one of them. Every word she speaks is saturated with convictions to her devotions to her brother and sister. 'O Master! We are seven... [the man] 'Twas throwing words away; for still / The little Maid would have her will'; Though-out the entire poem this debate continues.
When the end of the poem comes nothing has been resolved; the girl still says she 'we are seven'; and the man still thinks its absurd to continue to count dead siblings as part of your family now. The other important part of the poem is the religion connection. This girl obviously has a strong belief in the power of God and His plan. The church-yard is referenced three times: location of the graves, to a tree, and to their own cottage they dwell in. Also of her sister's death she said 'Til God released her of her pain. ' ; A few lines later she said, 'Their spirits are in heaven!' ; This establishes the foundation for her devotional traits.
Feeling like this toward someone even after they have long past away is amazing and beautiful. This poem has moved we and always makes me smile sadly when I read it. It is my favorite poem. One can't help feel sorry for the little cottage girl. Everything about her life has been taken from her so early on. She simply seems to live for her only playmates: her dead brother and sister.
She and her mother live alone now. No mention is ever made to her father's whereabouts. I think her isolation is further highlighted by the fact that we are told the names of her dead brother and sister, but that her name is never mentioned. This makes her seem more detached and lost I think. She remembers them fondly, which is endearing.
She remembers playing, but no longer plays and this is a tragedy. Even though her brother and sister are dead, she still maintains 'Their graves are green, they may be seen'; but the man is never convinced and fancies her as foolish. This little girl is strong, devoted, and deeply rooted in steadfast religious beliefs. These are qualities that everyone could stand to have a little more of.