Solitary Reaper Commentary

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'The Solitary Reaper' is a poem written by William Wordworth that consists of 4 stanzas all made up of 8 lines each. 'The Solitary Reaper' and 'I Wondered lonely as a cloud' are Wordsworths most renowned poems. The poem 'The Solitary Reaper' talks about a 'solitary Highland Lass' singing and reaping alone in a grain field. In the fourth line in the first stanza 'stop here, or gently pass' Wordsworth makes it apparent that this is quite a sight and that she should not be disturbed.

In the first stanza the main focal point is the aloneness of this woman in the field. 'behold her, single in the field' the use of 'behold' as opposed to 'see' is significant as it creates a more engaging effect on the reader. 'Behold' demands more respect, therefore it makes the reader realize that the focus is on this person. 'Single in the field' pointing it out plain and clear that she is by herself, this helps to create some confusion about why she is there. 'And sings a melancholy song' this brings to the readers attention that she is singing, but not only is she singing but she is singing quite a gloomy, depressing kind of song. This creates some imagery of an unhappy woman, alone, reaping in the field. This would be quite an unpleasant sight and therefore creates some ambivalence for the subject. The repetition of certain words and phrases suggesting loneliness such as 'solitary, herself, alone, single' exaggerate the fact that she is alone.

The second stanza shifts its focus from the aloneness in the field to the effect of her voice. 'No Nightingale did ever chaunt' this caricature suggests that this voice was so natural it could be compared to that of a bird. This helps make the reader imagine the beauty and bliss of the sound. There is also another comparison to a bird in the sixth line of this stanza. 'In spring time from the Cuckoo-bird', this second reference exaggerates the naturalness of her voice which is spreading throughout the countryside. A line later...
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