Wordsworth’s beliefs about good poetry are reflected in the main ideas and style of writing found in his poems; such as The Solitary Reaper and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. The essence of his poems follow Romantic themes that reject industrialisation, celebrate individuality, hold nature and its beauty in high respect, and encourages readers to observe their surroundings in solitude. It also includes his personal beliefs such as the notion of reflection and the reproduction of strong emotions existing permanently in the mind.
Wordsworth’s style is simplistic and literary techniques such as personification and hyperboles are used to aid in expressing his convictions. The Solitary Reaper depicts a sight that would have been common in the area and time period in which Wordsworth was in. Romantic ideals such as comfort in solitude and individuality are the main themes conveyed in this poem. In the first stanza, Wordsworth utilises the imperative “behold” to involve readers in the importance to observe their surroundings and happenings.
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The repetition of synonyms alluding to solitude – “single”, “solitary”, “by herself” and “alone” – places emphasis on the concept of seclusion. Rather, the poet views it in as tranquillity; working in a natural landscape and being isolated from gross materialism and the abuse of nature. Although the main character is alone, she does not appear to be lonely; content with singing to herself. Her song is symbolic of her expression of individuality which the poet finds beautiful because of its simplicity.
The language in which the girl is singing is foreign to the poet, and he expresses his frustrations with the rhetorical question, “will no one tell me what she sings? ” pleading to understand the explicit content, rather than conjuring his own interpretations. This exemplifies Wordsworth’s belief that poetry should not rely on artificial diction for its effort. In the final stanza, the poet dismisses his own musings, and observes “motionless and still” in order to properly observe and truly appreciate how the reaper’s song is able to enthral him, arousing powerful emotions.
He preserves the emotional experience in tranquillity that he recollects “long after it was heard no more. ” This quote describes the soothing effect of beautiful memories and the tranquillity that is reproduced, allowing the poet to be in a similar state of enjoyment as he reminisces. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud contains similar themes of individuality, the beauty of nature, expressed in a similar manner. The poem is written in first person, making the experience a personal and unique one, valuing individualism. By making the character in the poem a poet, thoughts and emotions are delivered in a direct manner.
This emotion is committed to the poet’s memory for later reflection to produce successful poetry. Reflecting and reproducing overwhelming emotion kindred to that which was the subject of contemplation is where the poet believes successful composition generally begins. Wordsworth follows the Romantic idealism, and his poems contain many Romantic features. For instance, both poems are written in first person and both contain poets as characters. This shows individualism and sensitivity of poets, as well as being well attuned to the world around and one’s mind.
Wordsworth believes that finding acceptance and comfort in solitude allows the readers to appreciate the beauty in nature, in relation to being fulfilled in a non-mechanised way. There is an emphasis on an emotional response to nature, as Wordsworth believed in a spiritual connection with nature – that the strong feelings evoked made a person more human; being more than just a mind. Being able to effectively communicate these beliefs effectively from poet to readers is a quality that Wordsworth believes creates good poetry.
The simplistic nature of his poetry with minimal literary techniques (used to exaggerate and place emphasis on important themes in his poems) is effective in conveying his emotions and thoughts in an honest and direct approach, keeping the emotions raw and the thoughts accessible to all. It also alludes to the simplistic beauty of nature and the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling” derived naturally. Wordsworth transforms common, simple sightings into an expression of his state of mind, allowing readers to appreciate the values of life and relate to the immense joy that Wordsworth felt, leading to the creation of exceptional poems.