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William Wordsworth's Lucy Gray Essay

1065 words - 4 pages

William Wordsworth's Lucy Gray

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences every person must go through. The experience does not end with the loss though, but begins with it. The loss of a dear person leads those left behind into a downward spiral of emotions and memories. A poem entitled “Lucy Gray” by William Wordsworth focuses on that loss and the emotions that follow it. By reading the poem one can objectively experience both the grief that Lucy Gray’s death brings on but also her parents’ acceptance of her death.

The poem in brief summary allows us to experience an outsider’s view of the death of Lucy Gray and her parents’ grief. The character narrating the poem tells the story of Lucy, a girl who was sent by her father with a lantern to light the way home, for her mother in town. On her way to town a snow storm hits and Lucy is never found neither dead nor alive. The fact that a stranger is narrating the story as opposed to one of the parents telling the story, allows the reader to witness the tragedy of Lucy Gray without feeling too tangled up in the parents’ grief. By having an outsider who is in no way involved in the tragedy tell the story, the writer of the poem William Wordsworth, gives the reader an objective point of view on the tragedy as well as room to relate the reader’s own experience to the poem without feeling uncomfortable. Had the poem lacked objectivity the reader would have surely felt uncomfortable and stifled by emotions of the parents’ or a parent telling the story of their daughter’s death. As well as that, the objectiveness of the stranger narrating gives the reader almost a communal experience. It is as if the reader was in a small town one day, and a local just happened to tell the story. The communal aspect as well as the reader being so far removed from the actual event, provides an understanding by the reader of the parents’ grief yet it does not in any way force the reader to feel something.

The stranger in the narration of the story, at one point focuses on the parent’s helplessness when their daughter does not come home. The feeling of helplessness is the first emotion they experience as realization of their daughter’s disappearance and possible death sets in. This helplessness is best expressed in the following lines of the poem:

The wretched parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sight nor sound
To serve them for a guide. (33 – 36)

Additionally the parents feel helpless is because no one else besides them is looking for their daughter. It is up to them to find her and if they do not find her alive, it is...

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