What is the purpose of William Wordsworth's "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways"?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" is a short poem, William Wordsworth manages to pack a huge amount of meaning into its brief lines. There's a lot going on in this poem, and so it's difficult to define the single most important purpose of it. However, one of the most important themes within the poem is the recognition of the importance and significance of that which is considered unimportant by the masses. 

Consider, for instance, the famous final stanza of the poem:

She lived unknown, and few could know
        When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
         The difference to me! (9-12)

In this segment, Wordsworth recognizes that the girl Lucy was relatively unimportant to society, and seemed to have few connections or social ties. However, be that as it may, the narrator of the poem seems to regard the event as highly significant and is stricken with grief. By ending his poem in such a way, Wordsworth argues for the importance of even the most common people or things. Indeed, one of Wordsworth's most powerful statements in this poem is that even the most ordinary individual can enjoy a significantly meaningful existence. 

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She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

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