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Subject The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Posted by Sophia
Posted on Mon Apr 24 09:47:56 2000
From IP h234.s62.ts30.hinet.net  

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles make:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey_bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree"

This poem reflects the inner desire for a peaceful life in the nature of the modern people. The isle, "Innisfree," can be seen as "in is free." Namely, what the speaker is really searching for is his inner peace. The poem is describing the internal journey to the lake isle of Innisfree of the speaker, which is to escape the city life. Analyzing this poem from A. J. Greimas' binary opposition aspect, we find three pairs of the binary oppositions, and they lie in the tree stanzas of the poem.
In the first set of the binary opposition, the subject is the speaker of the poem, "I," and the object is "Innisfree," which also includes following three lines in this stanza. "I" is thinking of going to get his or her peace in "Innisfree." On the isle of Innisfree, the speaker will build a house of his own, grow his own food and give up the urban life. Yet, according to his depiction of the life the speaker like to carry on with, it is actually an ideal and unrealistic one. No one can live simply on nine bean-rows and a bee hive. This deliberate idealizing the dream that the speaker has shows the great irony of this poem, which is that the dream is actually unrealizable, but the speaker still wants to search for it. This irony will be clearer if we see the poem as a whole.
The second set of the binary opposition is in the second stanza. In the sender/receiver relation, the sender here is the "Innisfree," the peaceful nature and the dream world of the speaker, while the receiver is "I," who will "receive," and enjoy what the nature provides him or her. "And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping / slow," The nature and the human beings are communicating.
Lastly, in the third stanza we can find the third binary opposition: the helper/opponent relation. The helper in this pair should be the "Innisfree," or nature, and the opponent is the busy city life, which people do not want to bear with anymore but can not live without. Since the reality does not permit the speaker to get away from the urban life, he or she has to turn his or her desire of going searching for "Innisfree" into an internal journey. Although there is an external obstacle, the opponent, that keeps him or her from the ideal word, the nature, from him or her, he or she can get her inner peace by imagining the Innisfree, the helper, and it would help him or her to gain some tranquility in the city life.
In conclusion, this poem, written in 1890, expresses the modern people's emptiness inside. No matter it is in 1890 or in 2000, people's searching for the inner peace never stops. It is just that the human beings just can not leave the city behind and really get on the road to look for the quiet country life. Thus, people end up just like the speaker of the poem, "I," always saying "I will arise and go now" and "I hear it in the deep heart's core."


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