Question 1: Where was the poet when he came across the solitary reaper? What happened thereafter?
William Wordsworth was in Scotland when he encountered a solitary young reaper in the fields among the hills. She was a young and pretty ‘Scottish Highland Lass’. She was reaping and singing by herself.
The poet stood there for a moment to listen to her song.
Question 2: Quote the lines from the first stanza that show the carrying capacity of the song she was singing.
The lines are:
‘O listen! For the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.’
Question 3: In the first stanza, some words or phrases have been used to show the girl was working alone in the
fields. Which are those words or phrases?
The words are as follows:
‘Yon solitary Highland Lass’, ‘single (in the field)’, ‘Reaping and singing by herself’, ‘Alone she cuts..’
Question 4: Why has the poet compared the song of the reaper to that of a nightingale and a cuckoo bird?
William Wordsworth has compared the song of the reaper to that of the nightingale and cuckoo because among all the birds, these two sings the sweetest. Both of the birds’ voices are sweet and bring freshness and joy to the travelers among Arabian sands. Their songs are viewed as a welcome tone to the weary travelers and signify the approaching of an oasis. However, the song of the reaper aroused similar feelings of pleasure and joy in the poet.
Question 5: Give an example of alliteration and hyperbole from the poem.
An example of alliteration from the poem is ‘Among Arabian sands.’
‘Breaking the silence of the seas’ is a hyperbole.
Question 6: ‘Will no one tell me what she sings?’
a. Who is the speaker? Why does he ask such a question?
b. What conjectures does he draw about the theme of the song?
a. The above mentioned line has been taken from William Wordsworth’s ‘The Solitary Reaper.’
The speaker here is the poet himself.
Since he is unfamiliar with the reaper’s dialect, he is unable to understand the theme of the maiden’s song.
b. The poet is intrigued by the maiden’s song and therefore draws some conjectures himself about its theme. As the tune seems to be melancholic, the poet feels the song could be about some unhappy memories or a sad event in history. He also feels that the theme could be about some current topic- some loss or pain that the reaper has undergone or is still undergoing.
Question 7: How was the poet affected by her singing?
The song of the reaper has a mesmerizing effect on the poet. He listens to the song ‘motionless and still.’ It left him spellbound. He hears it echoing in his ears even after the poet moved away from that place.
Value Based Question
Question 8: William Wordsworth’s ‘The Solitary Reaper’ describes an incident which the poet can’t forget. He found beauty in the singing of a mountainous girl although he was not able to understand its dialect.
What message does the poem convey?
‘The Solitary Reaper’ has a beautiful and deeper meaning. It teaches us a beautiful lesson that music knows no language, region or religion. Music can connect masses from all over the world. It provides a solace to minds of the listeners. The poem also teaches us that there is beauty in ordinary things and it can have a lasting impression too. This expression lends a feeling of romance to the poem.
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