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The Solitary Reaper

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Sarah Bilal

on 25 January 2014

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Transcript of The Solitary Reaper

The Solitary Reaper
1st stanza
Interest in the Common Man and Childhood
Celebration of the Individual
2nd stanza
Importance of Imagination
3rd stanza
Strong senses and emotions
4th stanza
Strong senses and emotions
Celebration of the Individual
Interest in the Common Man and Childhood
Works Cited

Reed College, 2014. Web. 15 Jan 2014. <http://academic.reed.edu/english/courses/nick/211/ENG211WordsworthSolitaryReaper.pdf>.

"SparkNotes: Wordsworth’s Poetry: “The Solitary Reaper”." Sparknotes.com, 2014. Web. 15 Jan 2014. <http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/wordsworth/section8.rhtml>.

Unknown. "Summary on the Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth." Shvoong, 2014. Web. 15 Jan 2014. <http://www.shvoong.com/books/classic-literature/2012013-summary-solitary-reaper-william-wordsworth/#ixzz2qQcjLBUl>.

"William Wordsworth." Wikipedia, 2014. Web. 15 Jan 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth>.
4 eight-line stanzas.
Written iambic tetrameter.
Rhyme Scheme: ABABCCDD
In the 1st and last stanzas the "A" rhyme is disgruntled.
Rhythm in the first stanza is very quick-paced however the rhythm is curt at times due to end-points and caesura that disturb the rhythm.
Rhythm in the second stanza and tone are very conversational with enjambment in the first 2 lines.
In the third stanza however the rhythm is slowed down however, punctuations, add a sense of abruptness to it and hinder the reader's reading process.
The fourth stanza, the rhythm is slowed down and there is barely any punctuations however, the slowed down rhythm leaves a sense of finality to the poem and it adds the motif of continuity present in that stanza.
Wordsworth saw a 'Maiden' from the Scottish Highlands, all alone in the field reaping and singing her song with emotions of joy and glory, which captured Wordsworth's immediate attention.
Wordsworth noticed that all the people who passed by her copletely overlooked her presence and her beautiful melody. Her melody went on for hours end, without her realising. She just continued to reap and bind the grain whilst singing her song.
The lyrics of the song were so clear that they piereced and stretched through the valley even to the furthest of places, should one listen with the ears of the heart.

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;—
I listen'd, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Written on November 5th, 1805
One of Wordsworth's post- Lyrical Ballads and shares similarities with "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud" with a triumphant speaker at the end.
Written the year his brother, John, passed away.
Inspired by Thomas Wilkinson's manuscript, "Tours to the British Mountains":
"Passed a Female who was reaping alone: she sung in Erse as she bended over her sickle; the sweetest human voice I ever heard: her strains were tenderly melancholy, and felt delicious, long after they were heard no more" (12)
Poem reflects nature's intricate relationship with humanity and the sacredness of this relationship.
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
Interest in the common man (woman)
Metaphor; emphasizes song's powerful effect
Setting: Scottish Highlands; Nature.
Outcast --> Celebration of the individual
Diction emphasises feelings of solitude and loneliness, Wordsworth is trying to portray
Exclamation mark highlight speakers exasperated, joyous tone.
Symbolism: Woman's singing is equivalent to that of Nightingale; Woman chaunts as though she was free
Extended Metaphor; woman livens the dead place
Islands off Scottish Coast
Unique voice; Celebration of the individual
Filling distant places with sound
Romantic bird; RENEWAL
Emotions over time --> Solitude
Visul Imagery:
Solitude theme
Visual imagery of plea
Tone shifts from previous stanzas.
Tone shift is accomplished through punctuation
Tone shift reflect speaker's personal realisations.
Rhyming Couplets
Lingering effect.
Instead of 'her', she is now a 'Maiden'.
Usage of present progressive emphasises continuity as opposed to past tense
Any down-troddens and heavy hearts would feel welcome to this valley of rest even if it is for a short time.
The songs of the Nightingale were not able to compete with the Maiden's songs, at least they weren't able to send the messages she sent with her songs.
Her notes would comfort even the weary of travellers taking a nap under some deep yet strong shade somewhere in the middle of the Arabian Desert.
The lass's voice was so shrilling to man that it outshone the sweet song of the cuckoo bird. It has broke the silence of the farthest Pacific islands of the Herbides.
Wordsworth was wondering if the content of her songs had any implications as he doesn't understand it. Could her mournful song reflect her sorrows and misfortunes that have past or could it be because of the happenings of the present day; the harsh realities and tribulations of this world have out done her.
The song's theme is of no value to Wordsworth. As he watched her from a distance, she continued to sing and work, with her sickle bending to cut and bind the grain. The higher he climbed up the hill, the more he stored the lass's song.
Wordsworth continued to climb without looking back until he could no longer see her or hear her endless song.
Theme: Emotions from exposure to ART and NATURE; SUBLIMITY.
Full transcript