The Fisherman- Poem Annotation

An annotation of W.B. Yeats' The Fisherman.

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  • Created on: 06-05-12 15:01
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The Fisherman
The Fisherman was published in 1919, and is a commentary by Yeats about the character of the
nation of Ireland. Yeats expresses disappointment with the way the people of Ireland act today, so
unlike what he wants them to be, through creating a comparison with his ideal of an Irish man: a `wise
and simple' fisherman.
The rhyme scheme is marked in blue. This simplistic, ordinary scheme seems to emphasise his point
about the nature of this `wise and simple man', added to by the lack of extravagance in the form of
this poem.
THEME: Beauty of Ireland: A Although I can see him still, Seemingly oxymoronic:
Yeats' ideal spends time B The freckled man who goes both wise and simple: but
with and appreciates the A To a grey place on a hill implies someone intelligent
nature of Ireland. B In grey Connemara clothes who also does not require
Emphasises this man's C At dawn to cast his flies an extravagant lifestyle:
simplicity and lack of D It's long since I began Yeats' ideal. `Simple' is not
need of material things: C To call up to the eyes normally a phrase
and Connemara clothes D This wise and simple man. associated with positivity.
were traditional Irish E All day I'd looked in the face Then Yeats contrasts this
clothes. F What I'd hoped `twould be man with the `reality': the
Traditional Irish slang E To write for my own race people of Ireland. His tone
used. F And the reality; becomes almost like a rant
G The living men that I hate or speech out loud, his
H The dead man that I loved, language use changes and
G The craven man in his seat, he begins to use hard
Sarcasm/mockery H The insolent unreproved, sounding, confrontational
I And no knave brought to book words.
J Who has won a drunken cheer, LINK: September 1913.
Part of negative I The witty man and his joke `It's with O'Leary in the
stereotypes of Ireland: J Aimed at the commonest ear, grave'. Yeats prefers the
`drunken louts' is a view K The clever man who cries old, traditional Ireland to
other nationalities L The catch-cries of the clown the one he lives in now.
sometimes hold. Yeats is K The beating down of the wise Repetition of the `c' sound
scorning the `common' L And great Art beaten down. as Yeats grows more and
people who add fire to more angry: plosive for
this view. A Maybe a twelvemonth since emphasis.
KEY THEME: Art/Politics: B Suddenly I began Yeats seems to pause for
people in Ireland ignore A In scorn of this audience, breath and recollect
art. B Imagining a man, himself, turning his
Clown: language making C And his sun-freckled face, thought back to this man.
this character a figure of D And grey Connemara cloth, The people who read and
scorn. C Climbing up a place hate his work.
Ties into the imagery used D Where stone is dark under froth Yeats feels the need to
throughout the poem: the E And the down-turn of his wrist repeat earlier phrases: to
man gets up at dawn. Also F When the flies drop the stream; return and emphasise the
ties into the theme of E A man who does not exist, image of this man in
Ireland's beauty: Yeats F A man who is but a dream; contrast to the reality.
uses this imagery to G And cried, `Before I am old
convey the need for his H I shall have written him one Yeats will use his art to
tribute. Is the dawn `cold' G Poem maybe as cold fight back against the
as, in want of finding this H And passionate as the dawn.' ignorance of the Irish
man, he must tell the real population.

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The Fisherman
people of Ireland how
wrong they are?…read more

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