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Summary

While passing through a mountain pass in the highlands,Wordsworth saw a young girl in a field.She was working all alone.She was cutting and binding the crops into sheaves .She was singing a sad song.Her song was echoing in the whole valley and could be heard even beyond it.The poet did not disturb the girl lest she could cease singing.
The song of the girl was really very sweet and charming.The poet thought that her song was sweeter than the song of the nightingale.Though the notes of the nightingale must appear very charming to the tired travellers as they rest under a tree in an oasis after their journey in the deserts of Arabia.Then he though that people must be filled with joy and excitement to hear the shrill notes of the cuckoo bird in the islands of Hebrides.But the song of the nightingale and the cuckoo was less sweet than that the song of this highland lass.
The poet did not know the dialect in which the girl was singing.But he was eager to know what the girl was singing about .There was no one around to assist him.So he made all sorts of guesses.He thought of the eventful past of Scotland.Perhaps she was singing about the battles fought and lost by her people in the past or some misfortune which fell on her people in the past.The poet tried to read yet another meaning in her song.He thought that it might be about some natural sorrow,loss or pain that comes again and again.He even thought that it might be about some known problems of day to day life.
Inspite of all his guesses the poet failed to understand what exactly the girl was singing

about.But her song had no ending.The poet was so deeply affected by her sad song that he stood motionless and still.He listened to it for a long time.Then,he climbed up the hill and went his way.Though he could no longer hear the song,he carried the music in his heart.

5. 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.


 Answer



Page No: 72 

6. 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 experience give us life-long pleasure
(iv) reapers can sing like birds

Answer 
(iii) beautiful experience 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 corn
(ii) to himself
(iii) to the people who make noise
(iv) to all the passers by

Answer 
(iv) to all the passers by

(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

Answer 
(i) ballad

(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

Answer 
(i) he cannot understand the song

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

Answer 
(iii) Scotland

Page no: 73

7. (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.)


Place
Heard by
Listener
Solitary Reaper
Scottish Highlands
The poet
Holds him spell bound
Nightingale



Cuckoo



Answer  


Place
Heard by
Listener
Solitary Reaper
Scottish Highlands
The poet
Holds him spell bound
Nightingale
Arabian sands
Travelers
reduces the tiredness of travelers
Cuckoo
Hebrides
People from far of land
has 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? 
Answer 
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.

8. 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 instances of this in The Solitary Reaper?

Answer
Poets often repeat such sounds to make the effect more intense and ornamental. This “poetic repetition” is called alliteration.
In line 15 we find an instance of alliteration in “silence of the seas.” In line 18 we find alliteration in “perhaps the plaintive numbers flow.” Line 27 also has alliteration in “I saw her singing at her work.”

9. 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?
Answer
The words and phrases that have been used to show that the girl working in the fields is alone are ‘single in the field’, ‘solitary’, ‘singing by herself’. 
The words and phrases create in the readers mind an image of a lonely Scottish maiden who is reaping and singing all alone in the field. While she is working, she is singing a sad melancholy song. The song is so intense that the poet asks the passersby to listen but to not disturb her. 

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