What is the poet unsure about as he watches the motionless butterfly in "To a Butterfly"? Why?

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Wordsworth's speaker in "To a Butterfly" is unsure whether the butterfly he has been gazing at for half an hour is asleep or feeding. His confusion arises because the butterfly is so very still. The speaker is so impressed by the butterfly's stillness that he reinforces his sense of awe by repeating twice how "motionless" the butterfly is:

How motionless! . . .
More motionless!

He also does this by using exclamation points to add emphasis and to convey emotion.

Wordsworth has his speaker directly address the butterfly while also engaging in some classically Wordsworthian moves. Wordsworth was fascinated by the way nature, because it is unchanging, becomes a backdrop against which humans can measure personal growth. Although he points to the butterfly's stillness, the insect's stillness is only made possible because the mature Wordsworth is capable of sitting still and observing it for a long period. He contrasts this to his boyish ways of chasing butterflies, but he also appreciates the presence of the butterfly in his garden for bringing back happy memories of bygone childhood days.

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The speaker has been watching the little butterfly for a full half-hour as it sits upon the yellow flower. And in all that time, it hasn't moved. The speaker doesn't know why. Maybe the butterfly's fast asleep, or perhaps it's feeding on the flower. It's impossible to tell. But the speaker's sure about one thing: the butterfly's resting its little wings, as it often does among his sister's flowers.

When a butterfly feeds on a flower's nectar, it can keep perfectly still, giving the impression to the untrained eye that it's fast asleep. This helps to explain why the speaker's so unsure as to what the butterfly's actually doing. But whatever the case, there's little doubt that the speaker derives great pleasure from watching the delightful little creature as it rests its weary wings.

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