The Stolen Child : summary

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The Stolen Child is a notable literary work by William Butler Yeats. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Stolen Child.


The Stolen Child” is a poem by W.B. Yeats  (1885-1939) that was published in 1889 as part of his collection “The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems.” The poem is written in the form of a lyrical narrative and explores themes of escapism, the allure of the natural world, and the loss of innocence. Here’s a summary of the poem:

The poem begins with a portrayal of a group of fairies. They live in a world of enchantment by the sea. These fairies are inviting a human child to come and join them in their mystical realm. They sing a beautiful and seductive song, luring the child away from the human world.

The faeries tell the child a life of eternal youth and joy, where they can play and dance forever. They depict a world where the waters are clear, the winds are gentle, and the moonlight is soft and inviting. They differ from the harsh and mundane realities of the human world, where the child’s life is characterized as one of “weeping and dismay.”

The poem paints a picture of a child who is disappointed with the human world and is drawn by the faeries’ offer of a life free from the burdens and responsibilities of adulthood. The child is attracted towards the faeries and their magical world, symbolizing a desire for escape and a return to a more innocent and carefree existence.

In the end, the faeries succeed in luring the child away, and the poem ends with a sense of both enchantment and melancholy. The child has stolen away from the human world, and the faeries have achieved their goal, but there is a sense of loss and longing in the poem as well, as the child leaves behind the human world and its complexities.

“The Stolen Child” is a beautifully lyrical poem. It reveals the idea of escaping the harsh realities of life for a more idyllic and enchanting existence, albeit with a sense of ambiguity and melancholy about the cost of such a choice.