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Life's Simple Pleasures In William Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

1927 words - 8 pages

Life's Simple Pleasures in William Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote, "And all the loveliest things there be come simply, so it seems to me." This aphorism clearly accents the meaning of William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." In his work, the speaker reminisces about a past experience in which he saw a beautiful multitude of daffodils swaying in the breeze. As he recollects this scene, the speaker gradually realizes the true beauty he had found that day. Often, some of the simplest things in life go unnoticed and untouched, when, in reality, they are the most precious. Consequently, it is not until after these extraordinary things are gone forever that their significance is truly understood. Through careful choice of similes, personification, and diction, William Wordsworth clearly expresses that it is the simple things in life, such as Nature, that is so important.

One element Wordsworth incorporates in his poem to signify the necessity of simplicity in one's life is the simile. The speaker begins his recollection with the emptiness he holds inside as he "wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o'er vales and hills" (Wordsworth 1-2). This simile symbolizes the speaker's yearning for something more fulfilling as he wanders through life. Often, clouds become separated from the rest and are left to wander aimlessly through the sky until they find more clouds to fulfill their emptiness. Wordsworth chooses a cloud to echo the speaker's state because, like a cloud, the speaker perhaps feels separated from everything in life and is simply floating through the patches of daffodils without a destination or purpose in hopes that someday he will discover fulfillment. Yet, it is in these patches of daffodils and simplicity that the speaker can find purpose and happiness. Wordsworth's choice of an object from Nature to compare to the speaker is ironic because it is the very aspects of such things as Nature that Wordsworth suggests that the reader grasp onto for strength and peace. It is the serene atmosphere of Nature that gives the soul strength and allows one to reflect on life and gain inner harmony. By not acknowledging this gift at the time, the speaker now deeply regrets his blindness, but is thankful that he at least has the memory of this breathtaking experience. Also, Perkins notes that during his interaction with the beautiful scene, the speaker (as the cloud) is the only object unaffected by the breeze as expressed in the poem (194). This acknowledgment echoes the speaker's ignorance to the radiance and beauty of the scene at that time and displays the importance of never taking such sweet and delightful things for granted. Later, the speaker expresses how the daffodils are "Continuous as the stars that shine / And twinkle on the Milky Way" (Wordsworth 10-11) because of the sparkling abundance he sees. Through another distinct simile, Wordsworth illuminates the...

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