Study Guide

We Are Seven Death

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Sorry to be such a downer, nerds, but at its heart "We Are Seven" is all about death. More specifically, it's about the death of children. (Got those tissues ready? Good). The cool thing about the poem, though, is that it asks more questions than it answers about the good ol' Grim Reaper. By offering two very different perspectives on death, it refuses to tell us what death means. Instead, it presents us with the only two hard facts about death: first, death's coming for all of us in the end, and second, there are just as many legit views on the meaning of death as there are ways to die.

Questions About Death

  1. Does the poem endorse the speaker's perspective on death or the little girl's? How can you tell?
  2. Is the little girl naïve to count her dead siblings as her siblings? Is she holding onto a fantasy? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that the speaker is cruel to interrogate the little girl about death? Why or why not?

Chew on This

We have a tie, gang. "We are Seven" is a totally ambiguous poem. Wordsworth sees the validity in both characters' views on death.

Not so fast—Wordsworth gives the little girl the final say in the poem, thus he endorses her perspective.

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