The Solitary Reaper Questions and Answers
by William Wordsworth

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How does nature come into the poem? Wordsworth normally writes about nature, right? How, except for the singing woman being alone in the field, does he make nature important in the poem, or does he use it at all?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that nature is present in a couple of ways in the poem.  Initially, it should be noted that the speaker, presumably Wordsworth, is wandering in an open area with only the natural surroundings around him.  The implication here is that any notion of truth or subjective epiphany is only possible in the natural setting.  With this in mind, nature is highly present in the poem as it is the setting for his own personal conception of self and its place in the world.  As he listens the song of the woman in the field, he understands her song as part of the natural setting.  In this moment, the song, the woman harvesting the crop, and the natural surroundings all seem to blur into one indistinguishable moment of transcendence and meaning.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You are right to say that nature is not as prominent in this poem as it is in a lot of Wordsworth's stuff.  However, I think there's a bit more nature in there than you are saying.

First of all, I would emphasize that the girl is in a field -- she's out in nature, not in her house cooking or something.

Second, the speaker keeps comparing her to natural things, the nightingale and the cuckoo.

Third, there are a lot of words in the poem that have to do with nature.  For example, vale, sands, shady, spring-time, seas and hill.

So Wordsworth is choosing to put the girl in a natural setting and he is choosing to use natural imagery.  Beyond that, there is not much, though.

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