Dr. Kathrine Butler
372 British Literature II
Wordsworth Poetry Analysis
On more than one occasion, William Wordsworth wrote poetry capturing beautifully simple moments in his homeland and the nearby areas. The Solitary Reaper is a fine testament to Wordsworth’s imaginative expression of his experiences in the exterior world. In its four eight-line stanzas the reader is provided an account of a scene set in Scotland featuring a maiden in a field whose song fills the air. The poem goes on to compare the girl’s voice to that of two birds and questions what the doleful song could mean. It finishes with the poet finding himself still touched by the sound “Long after it was heard no more.” (ll. 32.) This essay will supply an in-depth exploration of each stanza and conclude with a discussion of the themes found within Wordsworth’s work. In the 1st stanza the poet pauses to stop and look at a lone maiden singing while reaping a field. The poet asks the reader to stop here as well or pass by quietly so as not to disturb the smooth ebb of the song through the Vale. As the woman continually "cuts and binds the grain" she "sings a melancholy strain" to pass the time (ll. 5-6.) As a consequence the whole valley echoes with her song and the narrator himself fills with melancholy as well. Wordsworth draws the reader’s attention to the girl's isolation through use of words such as "single, solitary, by herself, alone." (ll. 1-3, 5.)The act of reaping alone in the field connects the maiden with the earth; as she spreads her melody through the lonely Scottish valley, she blends with the surrounding scene and almost manages to dissipate the barrier between herself and nature. In the second stanza the narrator draws a comparison between the lassie's voice to the sounds of two singing birds: the nightingale and the cuckoo. He praises her lovely voice and holds hers in a place of higher beauty that those of the birds’ songs. The woman's sounds are...
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