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William Wordsworth

A lesson plan on William Wordsworth and the Romantic period including an analysis of 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'. Made by Erik van Buren

Erik van Buren

on 29 December 2010

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Transcript of William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth Historical Info Born in Cockermouth 7 April 1770 1770-1850 He grew up in the Lake District Unlike many romantic poets of his time, William had a relatively happy childhood First showed interest in poetry during grammar school Influences:
Mother died at age 8
Father died at age 13
Separated from his sister Dorothy
Brother died in 1808 His rebellious spirit led him to France during the revolutionary period Wordsworth fell in love with a French lady called Annette Vallon In 1792 she gave birth to their child, Caroline Wordsworth returned to England the next year
because of the growing tension between Britain and France
and lack of money In a period of deep depression he got friends with Samual Taylor Coleridge In 1798 they published a collection of poems called The Lyrical Ballads Samual Taylor Coleridge Romanticism Wordsworth helped to launch
the romantic period in English literature What is Romanticism? Romanticism has very little to do with things popularly thought of as "romantic" Romanticism began in the 1770's and continued into the second half of the nineteenth century It is an international artistic and philosophical movement that redefined the fundamental ways in which people in Western cultures thought about themselves and about their world. Famous poems by Wordsworth:

London 1802
The tables turned
The Solitary Reaper
I wandered lonely as a cloud I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. I wandered lonely as a cloud Analysis of 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' Writer is wandering
carelessly without a plan
He is probably alone
He suddenly comes across a number of Daffodils First stanza Second stanza Fourth stanza Third stanza The daffodils stretch all along the shore. Because there are so many of them, they remind the speaker of the Milky Way.
The speaker humanizes the daffodils when he says they are engaging in a dance. In their gleeful fluttering and dancing, the daffodils outdo the rippling waves of the lake. But the poet does not at this moment fully appreciate the happy sight before him. Not until the poet later muses about what he saw does he fully appreciate the cheerful sight of the dancing daffodils. Notice the alliteration in line 1: lonely as a cloud Can you find another example of alliteration? "If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will" Besides alliteration, Wordsworth also uses anastrophes. An Anastrophe is an inversion of the normal word order. It is usually done for emphasis. "what wealth the show to me had brought" The character 'Yoda' from the Star Wars films is also famous for using anastropes. Can you find another example of an anastrophe in the poem? (tip: stanza 4) What is/are the theme(s) in this poem? Nature' s beauty uplifts the human spirit People sometimes fail to appreciate nature's wonders as they go about their daily routines The simple things in life is what makes us happy. Like new shoes What can make your day? Background information on the poem The poem recaptures a moment on April 15, 1802, when Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, were walking near a lake at Grasmere, Cumbria County, England, and came upon a shore lined with daffodils. Dorothy, who kept a diary, described what she and her brother saw on that April day in 1802:

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up— But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road . . . Some rested their heads on (mossy) stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. Sources:

http://www.notablebiographies.com/We-Z/Wordsworth-William.html A more modern approach: "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
William Wordsworth
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