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In I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Surprised by Joy (also commonly known as ‘Daffodils’), William Wordsworth uses figurative language to reveal that noticing the little things in life can change a person’s perspective.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a poem in which Wordsworth explains how simple it was for his loneliness to be grasped from his hands by the sight of beautiful daffodils. In the first stanza, the poet uses a simile to describe how alone he feels. Wordsworth feels as if “he wandered lonely as a cloud”. He uses clouds as a measurement to represent his solitude. The clouds are a very significant distant from the ground, so that’s how he wants the reader to imagine his feelings. Suddenly, the speaker sees a field of “golden daffodils; beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the wind” and his loneliness is taken away from him in a quick instant. Wordsworth constantly uses personification to compare nature to people and how they can have the same effect. He is able to portray the idea that people aren’t the only thing that can brighten your day; that there are many other ways to help lift your spirits.
Furthermore, by realizing that people are not required for companionship, the speaker is able to find pleasure in small, insignificant things. After he sees the daffodils, he explains that they are “stretched in a never-ending line”. Wordsworth uses a hyperbole to exaggerate the immense amount of cheerfulness the daffodils bring him. He reveals that his change in perspective has given him enough happiness to last him a lifetime. Then Wordsworth reveals that the daffodils are as “continuous as stars that shine and twinkle on the milky way”. Through the use of a simile, the poet is able to show the reader how abundant and beautiful the flowers are. The fact that he compares such a simple view with an enormous galaxy filled with stars shows how changing the way you look at things can have a significant impact on the way people view things.
In the poem Surprised by Joy, the speaker has lost a significant companion which once played a very important role in their life. He reveals that he feels empty, because his “heart’s best treasure was no more”. He feels as if his existence no longer serves a purpose because his most valuable possession is no longer with him. Suddenly, the speaker finds himself to be “surprised by joy — impatient as the wind”. Even after everything that he has been through, he is still capable of somehow finding happiness. The poet was already convinced that there was nothing that could bring his spirit up again, but by opening his eyes a little more, he was proven wrong. Even in the midst of darkness and solitude, there is a way to relieve oneself of the despondency.
In conclusion, Wordsworth uses different types of figurative language, specifically personification, to show the reader how nature has the ability to present more to a person than just beauty. A lot of people are blinded by the things that they want to see, but welcoming new things could change their outlook on life in a positive way. Just letting in that little bit of hope and lowering standards can teach you a lot about new ways to live life content.
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