A Crazed Girl, William Butler Yeats: Summary & Analysis

"A Crazed Girl" by William Butler Yeats is a vivid portrayal of a young woman who defies societal norms and expectations through her passionate expression of art and self. Through vivid imagery and a fragmented narrative, the poem captures the essence of the girl's unbridled creativity and emotional intensity, as well as the contrast between her inner world and the mundane reality around her.

A Crazed Girl

THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,
Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.
No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.'

Critical Analysis

"A Crazed Girl" offers a unique perspective on artistic fervor and personal liberation. The titular girl is portrayed as an unconventional and passionate artist, embracing her own form of expression without conforming to societal norms. The poem's fragmented structure and evocative language capture the girl's inner turmoil, her defiance of traditional roles, and her unapologetic immersion in her creative process.

The phrase "crazed girl improvising her music" immediately introduces the sense of abandon and spontaneity that defines the girl's artistic approach. The juxtaposition of "crazed" with "music" highlights her unorthodox yet powerful creative energy.

The imagery of "Her poetry, dancing upon the shore" underscores the fusion of her artistic endeavors with the natural world. The juxtaposition of "poetry" and "dancing" emphasizes her multidimensional expression.

The girl's soul "in division from itself" suggests an inner conflict or tension, possibly arising from the contrast between her artistic aspirations and the constraints imposed by society.

The portrayal of her "Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship" symbolizes the girl's attempt to find solace and refuge within the mundane, yet also implies her desire to escape societal norms and expectations.

The broken "knee-cap" serves as both a literal injury and a metaphorical representation of the challenges she faces. Her declaration as a "beautiful lofty thing" or "heroically lost" emphasizes her unconventional beauty and her status as a symbol of defiance.

The repeated word "wound" emphasizes her desperate passion, as well as the emotional turmoil she experiences. This is juxtaposed with her triumphant declaration of "O sea-starved, hungry sea," which suggests her longing for freedom and creative fulfillment.

"A Crazed Girl" captures the essence of artistic fervor and individuality, showcasing the tension between societal norms and the untamed spirit of creative expression.


"A Crazed Girl" by William Butler Yeats presents the story of an unconventional young woman who passionately embraces her artistic expression and defies societal norms. The poem highlights her inner turmoil, creative fervor, and determination to assert her individuality.

Themes of the Poem

  • Artistic Passion: The poem celebrates the intense and unorthodox creative energy of the girl as she improvises her art.
  • Defiance and Nonconformity: The girl's behavior and attitude challenge societal expectations and traditional roles.
  • Conflict and Inner Turmoil: The portrayal of her soul "in division" reflects the tension between her artistic aspirations and societal constraints.

Imagery and Language

  • Vivid Imagery: The poem employs vivid imagery to evoke the girl's artistic expression and inner conflict.
  • Fragmented Language: The use of fragmented language mirrors the girl's emotional state and her unconventional approach to art.
  • Metaphorical Language: Metaphors like "Her poetry, dancing upon the shore" and "Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship" convey the complexity of her artistic spirit and struggle.
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