Discuss the Ways in Which Yeats Presents Ageing in ‘Among School Children’. Consider How This Poem Relates to Other Poems by Yeats You Have Studied.

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Discuss the ways in which Yeats presents ageing in ‘Among School Children’. Consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats you have studied. “The old thought that life prepares for what never happens.” Before writing ‘Among School Children’, Yeats already had thought about writing the poem; thinking about the idea of connecting school children and life. In the first stanza, Yeats writes about visiting a Montessori school and what he discovers through this journey; to emphasise his realisation he uses the perception of other people, in this case the school children. Lines 7 and 8, he writes, “In momentary wonder stare upon, A sixty-year-old smiling public man.” Yeats has a realisation of the children looking at him and begins to see their perception of him but also starts to see himself. He realises that he is old, blemished and wrinkled, everything that he wishes to not be. The use of describing himself as a ‘public man’ shows that he wants to be In the fourth stanza of ‘Among School Children’, Yeats shows his inner thoughts, but we also see that he calls himself “a comfortable kind of old scarecrow”. These two juxtaposed images of Yeats are creepy and disturbing; however, he knows that and chooses to produce and wear a mask of acceptance and reconciliation, the mask of a smiling man. The consequences of the two images together emphasise his two different minds/faces, his agony over his perception for the value of life. Although he is smiling, this is his public face and he cannot allow them to see him as they first perceived him to be. In ‘Broken Dreams’, Yeats describes Maud Gonne’s changing appearance, by his in-depth description, the reader sees his dislike and loss of attraction for her. In the first two lines of this poem, he very abruptly starts picking out her flaws and demeans her. He writes, “There is grey in your hair. Young men

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