William Wordsworth, known as one of the first generation of romantic poets lived from 1770-1850.

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        William Wordsworth, known as one of the first generation of romantic poets lived from 1770-1850. Apart from romantic poems Wordsworth covered sonnets and poems expressing the child-like features of natural and man-made landscape. Two of his most famous works that fit into this genre are ‘The Daffodils’, a poem looking at the beauty of nature and ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge Sept. 3, 18’ a petrachan sonnet looking at natures contrast-man-made beauty. He was influenced by all elements of the world, and also, closer relations like his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth. Many times Dorothy contributed to his masterpieces, recorded through Dorothy’s diary, now known as the ‘Grassmere Journals’. Another patron that helped Wordsworth along the way was Sir George Beaumont, a friend and comrade of Wordsworth who frequently shared thoughts in letters. Many of his pieces reflect the beauty of the world and Wordsworths’ amazement at this. His ability to see the world through the wonder and freshness of a child allowed him to write some of the best and most unforgettable poems of our time.


The poem ‘The Daffodils’ derived from a trip to Eusmere with his sister, Dorothy. On the journey they passed a field of daffodils, described by Dorothy as to be ‘dancing’ and in ‘gayety’- recorded in the Grassmere Journals. This famous poem has been described as a ‘beautiful expression of joy’.

        The title-‘The Daffodils’ presents a patent indication of subject matter. The poem begins with a strong sense of person, which is emphasised by the use of a simile –‘I wandered as lonely as a cloud’. Apart from the reflection of the solitude of a cloud it also creates an atmosphere of slow speed and drifting-like a cloud, relating to Wordsworths walking and how he is taking his time to take in the landscape around him. By the first line he has already established himself through the first person and he also establishes the mood using words like ‘lonely’ and ‘wandered’ suggesting solitude, and moving with no purpose. He also suggests the surroundings by extending the previous simile: ‘That floats on high o’er vales and hills’. Here he suggests a rural vision through ‘vales’ (valleys) and ‘hills’. Onto the third a sudden sense of urgency is created with ‘when all at once’, contrasting the sense of slow speed developed in the previous lines of the stanza. He personifies daffodils as a ‘crowd’ of daffodils, which is qualified by further personification of daffodils-‘A host, of golden daffodils’.  ‘Crowd’ and ‘host’ both contribute to enlighten us about the vastness of the daffodils. This is also highlighted in the fifth line with-‘Beside the lake, beneath the trees’ showing us that they are growing everywhere even by the lake ad under the trees. Other than describing the amount of daffodils he describes the attractive nature of the daffodils. He uses the modifier ‘golden’ to describe the daffodils rather than ‘yellow’ to suggest how precious and wealthy the daffodils are. When the poem was first published ‘golden’ was actually ‘A host, of dancing daffodils’ but soon ‘dancing’ was replaced with ‘golden’. This may be because throughout the poem the idea of the daffodils dancing is repeated many times, so ‘golden’ was probably chosen over ‘dancing’ so as not to over-emphasise the idea of the daffodils dancing.

        In the last two lines of the first stanza the previous personification of the daffodils is extended with the lexical field ‘fluttering, dancing’. The dancing motion of the daffodils could be linked back to Dorothy’s Grassmere Journals- ‘and the rest tossed and reeled and danced’. The first stanza concludes in rhyming couplets bringing the climax of the first stanza to a conclusion.

        In this poem each stanza seems to be based on an element of nature. The second stanza, which, in fact was originally non-existent, is based on the sky and what the sky contains unlike the first stanza that’s based on the countryside. Wordsworth uses the imagery of the ‘never-ending’ sky to reflect the sheer number of daffodils in the field, which he develops from stanza one creating a lexical field of vastness ‘crowd, host, continuous, never-ending, ten thousand’.  The second stanza begins with a superlative, a hyperbole and a simile – ‘continuous as the stars that shine’, comparing the number of stars to the number daffodils and the simile is also appropriate to the daffodils as it could compare the shape of the daffodils to the stars, as their shapes are similar. In this stanza a strong and regular sense of rhythm is developed. The rhythm could be linked to the general ‘dancing’ of the daffodils, and the repetition of this key word develops the rhythm even further and reflects the feeling of dancing.

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        The vastness of the daffodils is again emphasised, by the synonyms: ‘stretched’, ‘continuous’ and ‘never-ending’, especially ‘stretched’ as the extended ‘e’ exaggerates the long strip of daffodils. ‘Never- ending’ and ‘Ten thousand’ are two hyperbolic phrases Wordsworth uses to over-emphasise the amount of daffodils. The hyperbole ‘ten thousand’ is developed further when he follows it with ‘saw I at a glance’, suggesting that with one quick glance he manages to see ten thousand daffodils. Originally the use of the hyperbole ‘ten thousand’ was repeated at the beginning of the third stanza- ‘Ten thousand dancing in the breeze’, coincidentally Wordsworth learnt from ...

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Technical terms are used excellently, far exceeding expectations for a GCSE level piece of work. Knowledge of the Petrarchan sonnet (although “Petrarchan” is spelt wrong in the essay) shows that the writer has a clear metrical understanding and this is used to great effect in the analysis. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are used well, all of which make the essay flow and gives an overall impression of a well thought-out, high standard essay.

There is truly excellent analysis in this essay. The writer goes into great detail about form, structure, and language, considering imagery and other features of the poems. In particular the writer fully analyses specific words rather than taking a whole line and extrapolating. This is good as it shows an attention to detail and an ability to consider both the minutiae of phrases and how they make up the poem as a whole. Each point is explained thoroughly: for instance, “The opening lines of the sonnet are very emphatic, created by the iambic pentameter...”. The writer takes a chunk, the opening lines, makes an assertion (“very emphatic”), and provides evidence which supports this point (“created by the iambic pentameter”). Evidence can come in the form of quotes or structure (it is hard to quote form, as it usually takes up a whole line). Therefore the writer not only gives detailed analysis, but displays an understanding of how essays can be written. However, this analysis rarely extends to evaluation. The writer does not consider how likely interpretations are or which is most important in adding to the general atmosphere of each poem. This adds to the sense of the essay being a calculating commentary without the writer fully engaging with the text. To an extent there should be an indication of personal response – although it is unwise to write in the first person, this can come through by suggesting how different readers would understand different quotes, or by concluding “to what extent” the author does something. This can be throughout, and not only in a conclusion. In this case, the conclusion is just one more point. To 'wrap up' the essay and give a sense of completion, one could take a point which sums up the writer's main argument about the essay and incorporate other points into it (making it better than just a summary of points). This is where the writer's lack of a focal question most impedes the quality of the essay.

The title is a little misleading – it perhaps should have been “Explicate upon two poems of Wordsworth”. The entire essay has no real direction, but is an extremely detailed commentary on “The Daffodils” and “Westminster Bridge”. Although this makes for an extremely in depth essay, it could have benefited from some form of focus, such as a theme, or narrative structure, or form.