'Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman' by William Butler Yeats
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I know, although when looks meet
I tremble to the bone,
The more I leave the door unlatched
The sooner love is gone,
For love is but a skein unwound
Between the dark and dawn.
A lonely ghost the ghost is
That to God shall come;
I - love's skein upon the ground,
My body in the tomb -
Shall leap into the light lost
In my mother's womb.
But were I left to lie alone
In an empty bed,
The skein so bound us ghost to ghost
When he turned his head
passing on the road that night,
Mine must walk when dead.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman
William Butler Yeats is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, and has written a number of works that touch upon the human condition, the spiritual world, and mythology. One of his most famous poems is "Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman," which tells the story of two lovers who are not embraced by society. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, symbols, and imagery used in the poem.
The Theme of Love and Society's Condemnation
At its core, "Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman" is a love story that is not accepted by society. The titular characters are both considered outcasts, with Crazy Jane being described as "crazy" and Jack being a "journeyman," or a wanderer who is not tied down to any one place. Despite these societal labels, the two characters are deeply in love with each other and are willing to face the judgment of others in order to be together.
The poem explores the idea that society often condemns those who do not fit into a prescribed mold, and that love can be a powerful force that can overcome societal norms. Yeats writes, "Love is like a tattered coat / upon a stick, unless / Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress." This passage suggests that love alone is not enough to sustain a relationship, but that the soul must also be invested in the union.
The Symbolism of the Tattered Coat
Throughout the poem, the tattered coat is used as a symbol for Crazy Jane and Jack's love. The coat is described as being "like a banner in battle," and represents their willingness to fight for their love in the face of societal persecution. Yeats uses the imagery of the tattered coat to suggest that while love may be fragile and vulnerable, it can also be resilient and enduring.
The image of the tattered coat also has a deeper meaning, as it represents the impermanence of life. Yeats writes, "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, / 'Tis woman's whole existence." This passage suggests that while men may love, it is often just one part of their lives, whereas women's love is their entire being. The tattered coat therefore represents the fragility and vulnerability of life, and the impermanence of all things.
The Importance of Soul
Yeats places a great deal of emphasis on the concept of soul in "Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman." He writes, "Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress." This passage suggests that the soul is the source of true love, and that without it, love is merely a physical attraction with no lasting power.
The idea of soul is also closely tied to the concept of societal acceptance. Yeats suggests that those who are not accepted by society are often those who are more in touch with their souls. He writes, "Crazy Jane talks with the Bishop and the Cardinal Lord / And finds that all sins are sweet in thy mode." This passage suggests that Crazy Jane is able to see beyond societal norms and is more in tune with her own soul.
The Imagery of Nature
Nature imagery is a recurring motif in Yeats' poetry, and is used throughout "Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman" to underscore the fragility and impermanence of life. Yeats writes, "The wild bees bless the fruit tree / And the wild figs grow upon the thorn." This passage suggests that even in the midst of chaos and destruction, life continues to grow and flourish.
The image of the fruit tree also has a deeper meaning, as it represents the cycle of life and death. Yeats writes, "And when Jack and Jane are gone / The wild thing they were shall turn them to the throne." This passage suggests that even after Crazy Jane and Jack have passed away, their love will continue to live on in the natural world.
In "Crazy Jane And Jack The Journeyman," William Butler Yeats explores the themes of love, societal condemnation, and the importance of soul. Through the use of symbolism, imagery, and language, Yeats creates a powerful and enduring poem that speaks to the human condition. As we read this poem, we are forced to confront our own prejudices and biases, and to question whether we are willing to stand up for what we believe in, even in the face of societal disapproval.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman: A Journey Through Love and Madness
William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, was known for his ability to weave intricate tales of love, loss, and the human condition. One of his most famous poems, Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman, is a prime example of his mastery of the craft. This poem is a journey through the madness of love, the complexities of human relationships, and the search for meaning in life.
The poem is a dialogue between two characters, Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman. Crazy Jane is a woman who has been driven to madness by her unrequited love for a man who does not return her affections. Jack the Journeyman is a wandering minstrel who has come to Crazy Jane seeking shelter from the storm. The two characters engage in a conversation about love, life, and the nature of reality.
The poem begins with Crazy Jane lamenting her unrequited love for a man who does not love her back. She says, "I am old, I am old, / And my heart is full of woes, / For I have wandered far and wide, / And nobody cares for me." This opening stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a meditation on the pain of unrequited love and the search for meaning in life.
Jack the Journeyman responds to Crazy Jane's lament by telling her that love is not something that can be forced or controlled. He says, "Love is like the mountain dew, / That falls upon the grassy plain, / And makes it green and fresh and new, / And drives away the winter rain." Jack's words suggest that love is a natural force that cannot be controlled or manipulated. It is something that happens spontaneously, like the falling of the mountain dew.
Crazy Jane, however, is not convinced. She tells Jack that love is a cruel and fickle mistress who can drive a person to madness. She says, "Love is like a wild bird's song, / That comes and goes as it will, / And leaves the heart that it has won, / To ache and tremble still." Crazy Jane's words suggest that love is a force that can bring both joy and pain, and that it is often unpredictable and uncontrollable.
As the conversation between Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman continues, the poem takes on a more philosophical tone. The two characters begin to discuss the nature of reality and the meaning of life. Crazy Jane tells Jack that life is a meaningless and empty existence, and that there is no purpose to it. She says, "Life is but a dream, they say, / And dreams are but a fleeting show, / And all the joys that come our way, / Are but shadows that come and go."
Jack the Journeyman, however, disagrees. He tells Crazy Jane that life is full of meaning and purpose, and that it is up to each individual to find their own path in life. He says, "Life is like a winding road, / That leads us to our destiny, / And though the way may be hard and cold, / We must follow it faithfully." Jack's words suggest that life is a journey, and that each person must find their own way through it.
The poem ends with Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman singing a duet about the joys and sorrows of life. They sing, "Life is but a fleeting show, / And all the joys that come our way, / Are but shadows that come and go, / And leave us with our memories." This final stanza suggests that life is a mixture of joy and sorrow, and that it is up to each individual to find meaning and purpose in their own way.
In conclusion, Crazy Jane and Jack the Journeyman is a powerful and moving poem that explores the complexities of love, life, and the human condition. Through the dialogue between the two characters, Yeats creates a meditation on the pain of unrequited love, the search for meaning in life, and the nature of reality. The poem is a testament to Yeats' mastery of the craft, and it remains a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today.
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