The Solitary Reaper

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Stylistic Analysis on the Solitary Reaper
'The Solitary Reaper" is one of William Wordsworth's most famous post-Lyrical Ballads lyrics. It describes the poet’s delight in a young woman’s melancholy song in an unknown language. A highland girl is singing a 'melancholy song' as she wings a sickle and reaps grain. The song is carried through the hills and valleys and seems to echo all around. To the poet the song seems sweeter even than the song of Nightingale. He does not want anyone to disturb the enchanting melodious music emanating from her. The tone of this poem is pleasant and it is a poem of praise on the natural beauty of countryside as well as the relaxed life of the rural people. Stylistic plays a very import rule in any writing, which fully helps express the author’s feeling and create an unexpected effect. This article discusses the language of this poem from syntax, phonology and graphology, semantics, lexical, language usage and passage. 1. Syntax

(1) Parallelisms refers to the same structure is repeated two or more than two times. It can produce some esthetic efforts: patterned and in rhyme, good to read. In Stanza2, “Among Arabian sands…Among the farthest Hebrides” emphasize the Scottish girl’s special voice, which shows that the poet was impressed by the girl’s beautiful voice. (2) Inverted sentences are to change the normal word to produce some emphatic effect. “No Nightingale did ever chaunt”, “A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard” here is to emphasize that the solitary reaper’s voice is unique. In addition, this structure can keep the balance of sentence. (3) Rhetorical questions are to use the form of a question in order to express a strong emotion or to emphasize a particular aspect. “Will no one tell me what she sings” “Or is it some more humble lay, famillar matter of today?” “That has been, and may be again?” Since the poet couldn’t understand what the girl was singing, it seems that he asked these questions to himself. However, they are actually asked to the readers. Thus, the poet used the rhetorical question to connect with the readers by attracting their attention making them participate in his thinking. In addition, there are no exact answers to the question, which is thought provoking and emphasize the unique and impressiveness of the voice. 2. Phonology

(1) Sound pattering can achieve a sense of rhythm and harmonious and connective effect. Assonance refers to the use of the same, or related, vowel sounds in successive words and consonance refers to the repletion of the last consonants of the stressed words at the end of the lines. For example “Sorrow, loss or pain”, this usage of the same sound “/o/”, “single”, “reaping”, “singing”, “sing”, “nightingale”, the repetition of /ing/, and “still”, “hill” in “I listened, motionless and still” and “And, as I mounted up the hill”, all this create a harmonious effect and sounds good. (2) Rhythm refers to a rhyme scheme (pattern) formed by stresses perceived as peaks of prominence. This poem consists of four stanzas, the first and fourth stanzas follow strictly the thyme pattern ABABCCDD, while the second and third stanzas are in the pattern of ABCBDDEE. Every stanza has end rhyme in this poem. For example, the end rhyme in the first stanza is /t/ /s/ /t/ /s/ /d/ /d/ /s/ /s/. (3) Punctuation marks are mainly used for special stylistic effects or rhetorical purposes. This poem adopts exclamation marks, for example “Yon solitary Highland lass! Stop here, or gently pass!” to expressing special feelings of impressiveness of the girl’s voice dash. Besides, “Will no one tell me what she sings? —Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow for old, unhappy, far-off things ”, the usage of the dash here is to give the various guess on the question. 3. Semantics

(1) Reference means that some units of language can be explained by referring to some other elements in the above or in the text below. And the author uses anaphora, one kind of reference,...
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