What is the summary/ critical appreciation of "A Violet by the Mossy Stone" by W. Wordsworth?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Wordsworth's poem "She Dwelt Among Untrodden Ways" is one of his lesser known poems about the love of his life, Lucy.  In terms of analysis, the title is fairly powerful.  The speaker, which we can presume is Wordsworth himself, feels that the subject of the poem, Lucy, is someone who is removed from the existence of the social setting, at large.  The fact that she "dwells among untrodden ways," indicates that her existence is one of concealment from the traditionalist social orders.  Along these lines, the use of the term "untrodden" helps to bring forth the Romantic idea that true meaning and understanding can only happen when one seeks to divorce themselves from conventional society and strives to understand elements in a pure and untainted form.  The opening stanza casts Lucy, the subject, in a manner of unappreciated greatness.  She is a character who lives in a realm where "there were none to praise" and where there are "very few to love."  This last verse could reflect both that there are a paltry number who can appreciate her state or that she lives in a realm where there are few around her for her to love.  The casting of her in this light makes the subject of the poem one where Lucy is cut off from others.  The second stanza includes a great deal of images that help to clarify the beauty of this unappreciated wonder of the world.  The "violet by the mossy stone" helps to create a stark and stunning beauty near an element that would be normal discarded.  Another such image would be the star image that compares a night sky with only one illuminating force within it.  The second line of that stanza is also quite strong in its appreciation for beauty that has been disregarded or unrecognized by the world:  "Half hidden from the eye."  This is highly Romantic in its assertion that true beauty is something that must be sought and resides in a form of hiding from the conventional views of human beings.  It must be something sought out for it is there, only up to the individual to seize the effort in to appreciate it.  The last stanza is very direct in the idea that this beauty is something that is dependent on the individual to appreciate.

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