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The Solitary Reaper Summary in English by William Wordsworth

The Solitary Reaper Summary in English

William Wordsworth, a Romantic poet, highlights the beauty of a ‘highland lass’ song in this poem. The poet is walking in the highlands of Scotland when he comes upon a girl singing in the field. He is so enamoured by her song that he stops in his travels and listens to her song. Her beautiful voice fills the whole valley. As he climbs over the hill, the song lingers in his ears and remains with him for a long time.

The poem begins with the poet walking in the highlands of Scotland when he comes across a girl who is cutting and binding grain into sheaves. She is singing as she works. Though the tune is melancholy, her voice is so captivating that the poet stops to listen to her.

He compares her song to the sweet notes of the nightingale and the cuckoo, both birds that sing in romantic surroundings. Since he is not familiar with the dialect, or he is too far to catch the words of the song, he is unable to understand the theme of the maiden’s song. He is, nevertheless, intrigued by the song and wonders what the theme of the song could be. This does not detract from his enjoyment of the song and he just stands there and listens to her song as she goes about her work. One thing is clear, her song is sad and her notes are plaintive. He wishes that her song would go on and on. Finally, the poet carries on, along his way, bearing in his heart the memory of the song.

The Solitary Reaper Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
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 life-long pleasure
(iv) reapers can sing like birds
That beautiful experiences give us life-long pleasure.

b. In the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper ’ to whom does the poet say ‘ Stop here or gently pass ’?
(i) to the people cutting com
(ii) to himself
(iii) to the people who make noise
(iv) to all the passers by
To himself.

c. ‘The Solitary Reaper’ is a narrative poem set to music. This form of verse is called a:
(i) ballad
(ii) soliloquy
(iii) monologue
(iv) sonnet

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
He cannot understand the song.

e. The setting of the poem is:
(i) Arabia
(ii) Hebrides
(iii) Scotland
(iv) England

Question 2.
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.)

Place Heard by Impact on listener
Solitary Reaper Scottish Highlands the poet holds him spellbound
Nightingale Arabia Arabian travellers Welcomes weary travellers
Cuckoo Seas along the farthest Hebrides People in the farthest Hebrides Breaks the silence of the seas