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

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

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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 fulfil...


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...t: Gale Research, 1986. 389.

Perkins, David. Wordsworth and the Poetry of Sincerity. Cambridge: Belknap, 1964.

Pottle, Frederick A. "They Eye and the Object in the Poetry of Wordsworth."
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Salvesen, Christopher. The Landscape of Memory: A Study of Wordsworth's Poetry. Lincoln:
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