What Are The Figure Of Speech In The Solitary Reaper?


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Monica Stott answered
William Wordsworth is the author of 'The Solitary Reaper', a ballad by the English poet which is probably one of the most famous works in English Literature.

A figure of speech, or figurative language, occurs when words or phrases are used in an unusual way to provide a different meaning to the one they usually would. Some figures of speech become so well known that we barely realize that the words deviate from their usual meaning but when figurative language is first developed, it can be poignant and fresh and ensure the reader sees something with a new perspective or heightened senses due to the usual nature of the words.
'The Solitary Reaper' describes Wordsworth's intrigue at a Scottish Highlands girl who sings as she reaps grain in a field. The girl is 'solitary' in a positive way. She is at one with nature and is compared to 'nightingales' and 'cuckoo birds' as though she almost IS nature and fits in with her surroundings. Wordsworth declares that she is more enchanting than the birds, suggesting she is more than nature 'with a voice so thrilling'.

Wordsworth is impatient to know what she is singing but does not hear human music in the song, he hears the music of nature which to him is more beautiful.
He praises the beauty of music and the magical expression of the self through song and poetry. He sees the words of a song as poetry which is why he is so enchanted by the woman.The language of the poem imitates nature in the fact that it flows easily and is set in a simple, rustic environment and praises the beauty around him.

The poem acknowledges other popular and respected works of literature, through the comparison to a 'nightingale',  Wordsworth creatively links it to Keats' famous work, 'Ode to a Nightingale', therefore creating a link to the theme of beauty and nature.

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