‘A Crazed Girl’ William Butler Yeats
The “crazed girl” is an embodiment of internal freedom. Her music is “improvised” and natural, not stiff and contrived like many musicians of Yeats’ time. Rather than sitting still in black ink, her poetry “dances upon the shore.” Her spirit is not trapped in the confines of her body; it climbs and falls as it feels fit. Her soul is so developed; she cannot even consciously control it. Mr. Yeats describes it as is “in division from itself,” as visually shown through the break in lines.
Mr. Yeats goes on to examine the girl’s broken knee-cap. He does not see the injury as a flaw, but rather a key quirk to her image. In this section of the poem, he refers to her as a “thing” twice. Since Yeats objectifies her in this section of the poem, it can be inferred the injury was attained in the past by performing crude acts, necessary for survival on the streets. Forced to sell herself, she is “a thing / heroically lost.” But since the hardships of her past give her an understanding of the world rivalling that of a weathered adult and contribute to her overall self-awareness, she is simultaneously “heroically found.” Repeating the word “wound” three times, Yeats affirms the girl’s flaws as the source of her excellence. She manages to make her shortcomings “her triumph[s].” The play on opposites show the overarching paradox: her spiritual freedom, which feeds her creativity, also seems to drive her toward insanity.
The girl’s free spirit truly resonates with Mr. Yeats as she sings “No common intelligible sound[s].” Even though Mr. Yeats admits he cannot understand her lyrics, he goes on to say she sang “O sea-starved, hungry sea.” Since he could not hear her words, Mr. Yeats interjects his emotions at this point of the poem. He is the sea. He is starved. The poem shows an internal urge to break free from the strict social codes of Mr. Yeats’ Ireland. I believe Mr. Yeats sees a more natural and free version of his core self in the...