Identify aspects in Wordsworth's "I Wandered as Lonely as a Cloud" that reflect what he argued in his "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads.

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

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I think that the setting of the poem is reflective of what Wordsworth addressed in his "Preface."  In Wordsworth's mind, poetry should be reflective of the "common life in the country."  This demand of subject matter is met in the poem.  The setting is a field of flowers, daffodils, that captures the speaker's, presumably Wordsworth's, imagination.  Through this setting, one sees that poetry can be reflected in daily life.  Something simple and ordinary can contain extraordinary elements.  Additionally, the standard in the Preface of poetry representing "the spontaneous overflow of emotions," is also seen.  Wordsworth expresses the joy of being in this setting, and emotionally seeks for something transcendent.  Set amongst a world where there is constant mutability and temporality, Wordsworth emotionally expresses a need to be connected to something transcendent.  His closing line of his heart "with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils" is a part of this.  There is a strong emotional connection between the speaker and his setting, one in which full immersion is sought.  It is here where another aspect of the "Preface" is evident in the poem.


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