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Explore the connections and differences between 'Miracle on St. David's Day' and 'Daffodils'.

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Introduction

Explore the connections and differences between 'Miracle on St. David's Day' and 'Daffodils' 'Daffodils' was written by William Wordsworth approximately a century before 'Miracle on St. David's Day' was written by Gillian Clarke. Due to this, the poems differ greatly in their style and language. Observing the poems at first glance, it is obvious that they also contrast in content, however at greater depth, the connections between them are made obvious. In this essay, I will be discussing the connections and differences between the two poems. The daffodil is the national symbol of Wales; it represents hope, joy and celebration. Both of the poets make this markedly palpable using this as a theme for their poems. In 'Miracle on St. David's Day' daffodils are mentioned at the beginning and end of the poem, carrying significance as it is they that remind the '...big, dumb labouring man...' of a time when he had something to say. The man speaks for the first time in forty years, reciting the poem 'Daffodils' implying that this is what he has to say: the joy and hope evoked in him by both the daffodils that he sees and the poem 'Daffodils'. Wordsworth is less subtle is his regard of daffodils, his poem is more conspicuous in portraying the '...fluttering...dancing...jocund...' daffodils as they fill his heart with pleasure and this image of the daffodils is the same throughout the poem. Both poems depict how it is the daffodils that evoke some form of emotion in either the author himself, or a character in the poem. ...read more.

Middle

Gillian Clarke changes the tone and emotion throughout her poem, whereas Wordsworth maintains a light-hearted tone throughout his poem. 'Miracle on St. David's Day' opens with pleasant scene of '...the sun among cedars and enormous oaks...[with] guests strolling...' continuing on to '...a cage... darkness... misery...' This sombre atmosphere continues on throughout the poem until the last line, where '...before the applause...thrush sings...daffodils are flame' . Wordsworth maintains the same overall atmosphere in each verse, even though he opens the poem '...lonely as a cloud...' and ends the poem '...in vacant or in pensive mood...' as he diffuses this with words such as '...sprightly...glee...gay...jocund...' 'Miracle on St. David's Day' differs greatly to 'Daffodils' in that the characters all seem to be trapped in their own minds manifested in the poem as '...a cage...not listening, not seeing, not feeling'. The insanity of all of these people is not dangerous, yet it traps them in their world of absences with no escape. In this poem, it is the rhythms of poetry that cures the man. However, 'Daffodils' describes the power of the actual flower to cure Wordsworth's '...vacant or pensive mood...' The significance of the actual flower differs in the two poems. Wordsworth bases his whole poem on them, whereas Clarke bases her poem on Wordsworth's poem. The poems connect in that they are both describing an event where a memory lifts the characters spirits and in a way, cures them. Also contrasting with 'Miracle on St. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'Daffodils' the use of assonance, alliteration, repetition and onomatopoeia create powerful images in the reader's mind. Assonance is used in 'Continuous as the stars that shine...' to embed the image of a '...never-ending line...' of daffodils in the reader's line. Vowels, when pronounced, can make quite long sounds, so Wordsworth's repetition of them in the previous quotes simply highlights the fact that there are many daffodils. Wordsworth uses alliteration '...beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze' to give the poem a pleasant flowing form. The repetition of the 'b' sound is usually associated with explosive sounds to convey grandeur and power. However, as in 'Miracle on St. David's Day', they are used to present a calm and peaceful image of pleasant scenery. Repetition is also used in this poem to emphasise the importance of a word or emotion '...I gazed- and gazed...' To gaze implies to watch with a certain amount of emotion, unlike to simply look at something. By repeating the word gaze, he emphasises that the flowers actually meant something to him. Wordsworth also uses onomatopoeia to allow the reader to visualise the description, '...fluttering...' The word allows the reader to see the daffodils fluttering, like a butterfly. These descriptive words are often used in association with a well-known description for example: the fluttering butterflies. Having studied both poems in depth, it is clear that they have more differences than similarities. However, they both have the same underlying theme of something wonderful happening that should be treasured, although they have presented this theme differently to the reader (different setting, characters, topic etc.). Tania Lapa ...read more.

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