The Lake Isle of Innisfree Themes

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"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" expresses the idea that nature provides an inherently restorative place to which human beings can go to escape the chaos and corrupting influences of civilization. In his autobiography, Yeats writes that his poem was influenced by his reading of American writer Henry David Thoreau's Walden (1854), which describes Thoreau's experiment of living alone in a small hut in the woods on Walden Pond, outside Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau lived in his one-room house from 1845-1847, gardening, writing, and studying natural history. Thoreau championed the solitary, self-sufficient life lived in harmony with nature, considering it more authentic than a life spent balancing ledgers or working for someone else. He disdained the ways working for a living and acquiring material goods can control one's life. Explaining his motivation for the experiment, Thoreau writes in Walden:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
to...

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This section contains 667 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lake Isle of Innisfree Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Lake Isle of Innisfree from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.