Q1: The poet could not understand the words of the song, yet he raised several possibilities about its theme. In the diagram below are some of these possibilities. Read the third stanza again, and find the phrase that matches each. Copy and complete the diagram, writing each phrase in the empty boxes. Work in pairs.
Q2: On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice.
(a) The central idea of the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’ is ________.
(i) well sung songs give us happiness
(ii) melodious sounds appeal to all
(iii) beautiful experiences give us lifelong pleasure
(iv) reapers can sing like birds
Ans: (a) (iii) beautiful experiences give us lifelong pleasure
(b) In the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’ to whom does the poet say ‘Stop here or gently pass?
(i) to the people cutting corn
(ii) to himself
(iii) to the people who make noise
(iv) to all the passersby
Ans : (b) (iv) to all the passersby
(c) ‘The Solitary Reaper’ is a narrative poem set to music. This form of verse is called a ______.
Ans: (c) (i) lyric
(d) The poet’s lament in the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’ is that ______.
(i) he cannot understand the song
(ii) he did not know the lass
(iii) she stopped singing at once
(iv) he had to move away
Ans: (d) (iv) he had to move away
(e) The setting of the poem is ________.
Ans : (e) (iii) Scotland
Q3: (a) Read the second stanza again, in which Wordsworth compares the solitary reaper’s song with the song of the nightingale and the cuckoo. On the basis of your reading (and your imagination), copy and complete the table below. (Work in groups of four, then have a brief class discussion).
Impact on listener
holds him spellbound
Impact on listener
holds linn spellbound
reduces the tiredness of travellers
people or passers-by
has a far-reaching effect, heralds the coming of spring, end of winter
(b) Why do you think Wordsworth has chosen the song of the nightingale and the cuckoo for comparison with the solitary reaper’s song?
Ans: The nightingale and the cuckoo are the two birds which are famous for their sweet and melodious songs. So, it is quite natural that Wordsworth compares the sweet song of the solitary reaper to these birds.
(c) As you read the second stanza, what pictures come to your mind? Be ready to describe them in your own words, to the rest of the class. (Do not be afraid to go beyond what the poet has written.)
Q4: In the sixth line of the first stanza, we read:
“… and sings a melancholy strain…. ”
This “s” sound at the beginning of sings and strain has been repeated. Poets often do this.
Do you know why? Do you know what this “poetic repetition” is called? Can you find other instances of this, in The Solitary Reaper?
Ans: In ‘sings’ and ‘strain’, “s” sound has been repeated. The use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words that are close together is quite common in poetry. This “poetic repetition is called “alliteration”. It is used to heighten the musical and lyrical impact of the poem.
Repetition of “s” sound in ‘silence of the seas’.
Repetition of “a” sound in ‘Among Arabian Sands’.
Repetition of “1” sound in ‘Listened, motionless and still’.
Q5: In the first stanza, some words or phrases have been used to show that the girl working in the fields is alone. Which are those words and phrases? What effect do they create in the mind of the reader?
Ans: The poet uses some words or phrases in the first stanza to show that the girl working in the field is alone. These words are:
“Single” in the field
“solitary” Highland lass
singing “by herself’
“Alone” she cuts
These words and phrases focus our attention solely on the reaper. We keep our eyes only on her and our ears to her melodious song. These words create a sense of ‘mystery’ and the presence of a lonely girl among those natural surroundings does create a romantic setting.
Q6: Why do you think Wordsworth has chosen the song of the nightingale and the cuckoo, for comparison with the solitary reaper’s song?
Ans : The nightingale and the cuckoo are known as song-birds. Many poets have written about their melodious notes and there is a reference to nightingale even in the Bible. So the poet has chosen their songs for comparison with the Solitary Reaper’s song.
|1. What is the summary of the poem "The Solitary Reaper"?|
|2. What is the central theme of the poem "The Solitary Reaper"?|
|3. What is the tone of the poem "The Solitary Reaper"?|
|4. How does the poet compare the song of the solitary reaper to the nightingale and the cuckoo?|
|5. What is the significance of the title "The Solitary Reaper"?|