How are the daffodils described in the poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"?

In "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," the speaker describes the incredible beauty of the daffodils that line the lake's edge by using various literary devices, including personification and vivid imagery.

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Wordsworth's speaker describes the daffodils he sees as a "crowd." They are golden and have blossomed beside a lake, under trees that would not yet have any leaves. The daffodils are "fluttering and dancing" because it is breezy outside.

The speaker describes the daffodils as stretching out endlessly, like the stars in the Milky Way. He says there must be ten thousand of them. They appear to toss their heads in a lively dance. The breeze causes the waves on the lake to seem to dance too, but the dancing of the daffodils seems much more gleeful and alive.

The speaker personifies the daffodils, treating them as if they are a mass of dancing people with happy, carefree personalities. Their seeming sociality is key to the speaker's intense experience of joy as he gazes on them. Right before he stumbled on them unexpectedly, he was very lonely. He felt like a cloud, depressed and alienated from the scenery all around him.

His sudden encounter with the daffodils changes his emotions. The human delight the daffodils seem to exhibit fills him with an intense sense of pleasure—and a sense of having companionship. He carries this feeling with him for a long time so that even alone on his couch in colder months, he can still remember how happy the daffodils made him feel.

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Through personification and vivid imagery, the speaker creates a joyous and peaceful representation of the daffodils which soothe his mind in this poem.

The imagery is breathtaking in the most natural sort of way. The daffodils are "golden" as they crowd together around a lake. They embody human qualities—fluttering and dancing—as the wind blows them, and this personification furthers the light and joyous tone.

Metaphorically, the speaker compares these dancing flowers to the number of stars that twinkle throughout the Milky Way, too many to count and impossible to fully appreciate individually. Instead, part of the wonder lies in the fact that there are so many of them together, flooding his visual field.

The speaker uses anthropomorphism, giving the daffodils "heads" that they intentionally toss around as they "dance." And although this dance occurs along the water's edge, the waves themselves a magical visual to behold, the flowers outshine the beauty of the lake.

This scene of "sprightly" daffodils frolicking along the beauty of a wavy lake lightens the speaker's mood. He notes that he cannot help but be happy to witness it, and he considers the scene a great resource to tuck away for future reference.

The poem ends with the speaker's conclusion that this delightful memory is enough to lift even his most "pensive mood" when he recollects the scene. Through various types of figurative language, the description of the daffodils is developed to convey the power of lovely memories.

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The famous poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth tells of the poet unexpectedly coming across a large quantity of daffodils beside a lake under some trees. It is based on a walk that Wordsworth took with his sister Dorothy during which they came across a long line of daffodils swaying in the wind. Wordsworth describes the daffodils in several ways.

The poet uses personification to describe the daffodils. Personification is the attribution of human qualities to things that are not alive. For instance, he writes about the daffodils "tossing their heads in sprightly dance" and that they are "jocund company" to him, as if they were humans that could keep him company.

Wordsworth also uses simile in describing the daffodils as "continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the milky way." Here he compares the long rows of daffodils to the seemingly endless stars in the night sky.

He describes the daffodils with reference to color and light which bring great joy when he writes of the "golden daffodils" that "outdid the sparkling waves in glee."

Finally, the poet describes the daffodils as a source of continuing inspiration. The "wealth the show to me had brought" is his memory of these beautiful flowers. He writes that when he is back home alone on his couch they "flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude." In other words, he remembers them and sees them within his mind, and when he does, they give him great pleasure and lift his mood.

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In “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” the speaker dwells on two features of the daffodils that he stumbles upon along the edge of the bay:  their number, and their movement in the breeze.  He describes them first as a “host,” in the sense of a great number, and then states in the second verse that they are “continuous as the stars that shine…They stretched in a never-ending line.”  It is clear that we have a huge number of daffodils on our hands; the speaker notes that there are at least “ten thousand,” likely many more, stretching all along the edge of the bay off into the distance.  This imagery is foolproof and conjures up a field of bright “golden” flowers as far as the eye can see.

In addition, the speaker sees the flowers all “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”  There is a sturdy sea-breeze blowing along the water, and the daffodils are all being bent forward and back by its light force.  By being described as dancing, and as having heads, the daffodils are being personified – that is, they are being given human characteristics  -- which reinforces the living quality of nature.  In the next verse, the daffodils “out-did the sparkling waves in glee,” and are then described as “jocund.”  The flowers are, by their color and their movement, exceedingly joyful beings, and raise the spirits of the speaker to such an extent that he thinks of them even when he is at home on his couch, and the memory makes him happy.

The daffodils are described as conscious beings, as living things with the capacity to express happiness, and this gives a purposefulness to nature, and helps to justify its healing quality in the minds of human beings.

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