Written in 1807, William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” depicts the author’s perspective regarding nature and its ability to alter one’s feelings. Wordsworth shares his experience with nature to illuminate the simplicity of losing the chance to feel the serene beauty that nature has. In other words, the author attempts to bring to the reader’s attention that true bliss and spiritual nourishment is abundantly available in nature, which makes it the perfect outlet to escape the everyday stresses of life. This paper seeks to illustrate the central theme of nature through a careful analysis of similes, metaphors, and personification as well, shedding light on the fact that happiness in life can be found in the simplest of things.
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The first part of the paper exemplifies to the reader how Wordsworth incorporates similes, while the second part illustrates the narrator’s use of personification to underline the poem’s central theme. Finally, the last section discusses the author’s use of metaphoric diction to underscore nature as the central subject.
From a reading of the poem by Noma Dumezweni on BBC radio, listeners become engaged by the narrator’s laidback tone. The first stanza of the poem reads, “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” which is a clear indication that the speaker was alone during the experience (Wordsworth 1).
Through the use of simile, Wordsworth is likening himself to a cloud as he describes his surroundings. The term “wandering” suggests that the protagonist was simply walking aimlessly with no specific destination or mission to fulfill. The speaker perhaps compares his solitude to that of clouds as they wander purposelessly in the sky. He seems to feel detached from the normal aspects of life until he finds a simple and fulfilling solution, which is nature.
The speaker comes to terms with this fact when he encounters “A host of golden daffodils” (Wordsworth 4). The patches of daffodils represent the serenity found in nature which allows people to attain inner harmony. The speaker illustrates a sense of regret for failing to accept that what he had searched for all his life was right there in front of him. Nonetheless, he expressed gratitude for having attained such a valuable memory. This reaction exemplifies the speaker’s unawareness of the magnificence of the scenery at the time, besides recognizing the importance of appreciating the simple things that life has.
Wordsworth uses another simile to highlight the essence of the simple aspects of life by drawing a comparison between the many heavenly stars and the daffodils. The speaker expresses this sentiment when he says that daffodils are compared to “the stars that shine and twinkle on the milky way” (Wordsworth 7-8). When listening to Dumezweni, the BBC speaker, the listener is able to visualize the splendor of the staging as the author compares the shining plethora of stars with flowers. Wordsworth uses this impression to show that simplicity, such as that of daffodils, can be fulfilled just as much as the marvelousness of the stars.
Wordsworth incorporates personification to emphasize the significance of his poem. After viewing the daffodils, the speaker remembers seeing them “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” (Wordsworth 6). The speaker becomes fascinated by the behavior displayed by the daffodils because they appear to fully enjoy a sense of freedom. Moreover, the speaker remembers how he saw the daffodils, “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (Wordsworth 12). The manner in which Wordsworth brings the daffodils to life helps the speaker come to terms with the fact that all he needs to live a fulfilling life has been within his reach the entire time. Hence, personification plays a critical role in Wordsworth’s illustration that small moments matter the most in life.
The use of precise and clear metaphorical diction allows Wordsworth to symbolize the essence of taking pleasure in small things. The speaker’s description of “golden” daffodils places emphasis on the attractiveness of the flowers (Wordsworth 4). Also, Wordsworth’s comparison of the flowers with the stars shows just how imperative the daffodils were in helping the speaker realize the important aspects of life.
The stars can be seen as divine and celestial, and as such, the appearance of daffodils represents an aspect of divinity that is the only true source of joy. Moreover, the speaker continues to say that, “What wealth the show to me had brought,” possibly implying that the memory of daffodils continued to give him a sense of peace and joy long after the speaker had left nature (Wordsworth 18). In this instance, the memory of daffodils served as a therapeutic get away from the stresses of life and loneliness as well.
As it was mentioned in the thesis, Wordsworth emphasizes the need for people to understand the significance of nature and appreciate it before it is too late. In other words, nature is in itself a gift, and as such, people should pay attention to the natural surrounding rather than focusing on the daily pressures of life.
Wordsworth, William. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Other Poems. Oxford University Press, 2016.