Study Guide

We Are Seven Youth

By William Wordsworth

Youth

Youth: is it a blessing or a curse? Are the young silly, naïve, and dumb? Or is there a sort of wisdom in youth? "We Are Seven" grapples with all of these questions as it stages an argument between the speaker (an adult) and an eight-year-old girl. Throughout the poem, the young girl clings to her beliefs, even as the speaker tries to undo them with adult logic. The girl has a kind of stubbornness and perseverance that only the young can have, and it's up to us to decide whether her strong will is a mark of the near-sightedness of youth, or whether it is something to admire or even emulate.

Questions About Youth

  1. The speaker clearly thinks that the young girl is wrong. Is his belief related to her age? Do you think that the speaker would argue so intently with someone his own age? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think the poem begins with an abstract question about the relationship between youth and death? Why doesn't Wordsworth just jump right into the meat of the poem right away?
  3. Does the poem ultimately endorse the young girl's point of view? What might she know that the speaker doesn't?

Chew on This

The poem suggests that there is a deep wisdom in youth that cannot be emulated by adults. (Nice try, old timers.)

The poem isn't making a grand statement about youth. It's just telling one particular story about one particular girl (and two particular dead siblings).

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