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What picture does the second stanza of William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" create?

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elisazaman | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM via web

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What picture does the second stanza of William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" create?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM (Answer #2)

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The second stanza of William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" creates a picture very different from the first stanza. The first stanza offers readers an exact picture of the "solitary Highland lass." She is alone, reaping grain, and singing a "profound" song.

The second stanza differs greatly. The speaker of the poem reflects upon the voice of the lass. While the entire poem proves to be Romantic, the second stanza includes far more references to nature. The speaker states that the voice of the girl surpasses threat of the nightingale. No one, even among the "Arabian sands," has ever heard a voice so beautiful. Her voice even "breaks the silence" better than that of the cuckoo.

The picture of the second stanza revolves around the voice of the girl. While abstract, the speaker tries to given the reader a precise picture of what he or she "sees" when the girl sings. The use of the examples, from nature, places the girl above nature. Essentially, the second stanza raises the girl above all else. Through the imagery in the second stanza, the girl is idolized.


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a0542959 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 12, 2013 at 3:10 PM (Answer #1)

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It paints the picture of those far away from home hearing something familiar to them. If you've ever been far away from home, I'm sure you can remember smelling something familiar or hearing something familiar and how comforting that can be. In this instance, it is a nightingale that warms the travelers in Arabia (there aren't nightingales in Arabia). He also aludes to the sound of a cuckoo bird among the Hebrides.

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