Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) Alternative English (Chinar) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: The Daffodils, written by William Wordsworth, is a classic example of Romantic Era poetry since it has many of the defining characteristics of the genre. In the first lines of the poem, the poet describes his aimless wandering in a state of disengagement from the outside world until he comes across a swarm of yellow daffodils blooming on the bay’s outskirts. There were so many flowers that they formed what looked like an endless row. Wordsworth likens the dazzling Milky Way galaxy to a vast field of daffodils. The swaying movement of the daffodils’ heads adds to their allure and captivates him.
The poet is profoundly moved by the sight of hundreds of daffodils blowing in the wind against the backdrop of waves lapping at the shore. The daffodils, as they sway in the breeze, look like a lively dance troupe. He is so captivated by the view that the golden swaying of the flowers seems to him to surpass the beauty of the waves on the lake. The poet is moved by the beauty and serenity of the scene, specifically by the daffodils swaying joyfully in the wind next to the lapping waves of the lake. He is completely captivated by it.
The poet closes by recognising the enduring effect that nature’s beauty has had on him. While Wordsworth spends a long time admiring a field of daffodils waving in the breeze, it isn’t until much later that he appreciates the wealth that the field of flowers has brought him. The scene had such a powerful impact on him that he can’t help but remember it, and he often finds comfort in thinking about it during his quiet, reflective times. The delight of first seeing the daffodils persists long after the event itself has passed. As a result, the poet William Wordsworth found lasting happiness in a beautiful scene he discovered by chance.
1. After reading the poem, can you guess what a daffodil is?
Answer: Daffodils are, in fact, a plant with bright yellow flowers.
2. The poet says that he ‘wandered lovely as a cloud’, which means he was
(a) going from place to place without a special reason or purpose
(b) moving about in a crowd.
(c) the cloud was all alone in the sky.
Answer: (a) going from place to place without a special reason or purpose
3. The poet says that he saw “ten thousand.” This means
(a) there were ten thousand at them
(b) there were many of them
(c) they were countless
Answer: (c) they were countless of a glance’. Does
4. The poet says that a “poet could not be but gay/ In such a jocund company!” What do you think “jocund company” means? Is he happy or unhappy in such a company?
Answer: Company that is jocund is one that is full of joy and positivity. The poet felt uplifted by the scene of twirling daffodils and crashing seas. The poet finds joy in such companions.
5. What does the poet mean when he says that he ‘gazed and gazed – but little thought/ what wealth the show to me had brought? How does the scene benefit him, either materially or emotionally? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Here, the poet is expressing his delight at the sight of the golden daffodils, to the point where he forgets to consider the material benefits that the sight provides. He had no idea what a treasure trove of joy he was carrying around inside of him. He was so overjoyed by the scene that he stared at them, baffled and motionless, for a long period of time. This scene flashed in the poet’s thoughts whenever he was feeling down or deep in meditation, and it always lifted his spirits. Therefore, he had amassed an unending supply of joy from the sight of daffodils. As a result, he has profited monetarily and psychologically from his view of happy daffodils because it provides him with a companion who makes him smile even when he is alone.
6. What does “vacant and pensive mood” mean? Select the correct option.
(a) a thoughtful and contemplative mood
(b) a sad mood
(c) a thoughtless state of mind
Answer: (b) a sad mood.
7. What does the “inward eye” mean? What is it that flashes before the eye? Do you think the poet is affected by it in any way? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: The ‘inward eye’ refers to the mind’s eye or the intuitive senses. The poet says that a bright scene of golden daffodils flashes before his mind’s eye. And every time the sight of the daffodils enters his head, the poet is filled with joy and good spirits, and he dances with the golden daffodils. His mind is stimulated by the upbeat scene before him. The daffodils help him in this way. In times of isolation and low spirits, the poet finds comfort in remembering the sight of the golden daffodils. Seeing it for the first time fills his head with happiness, and the golden daffodils begin to dance. In this way, he is able to forget his problems and enjoy life.
8. Why has the poet described solitude as being blissful?
Answer: The poet describes solitude as a state of happiness, saying that whenever he is feeling down, a happy image of the daffodils pops into his head and instantly lifts his spirits. Quite the opposite, no one can truly appreciate being alone. To put it simply, being alone is dull, and nobody understands how you feel but you. The poet, however, is shown to be ecstatic and upbeat even when alone, so long as the thought of daffodils is present in his head. In other words, it makes him happy. As the daffodils float by, he finds solace in his solitude. Because being alone does not strip him bare, but rather reminds him of the bright vista. This is why the poet considers the sight of the daffodils to be solitary happiness.
1. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Answer: Daffodils follows the ABAB rhyme scheme, with a rhyming couplet (CC) at the end of each stanza.
2. Look at these two lines :
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in breeze.
The last words of these two lines rhyme with each other. Such rhyming lines are an example of a rhyming couplt. Find other examples of such couplets in the poem.
Answer: Here are some rhyme pairs from the poem “Daffodils:”
(a) “Ten thousand saw I at a glance tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”
(b) “I gazed-and gazed-but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought.”
(c) And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.
3. Poets sometimes describe non-living objects as human beings. For example, in the line ‘And the storm blast came and he was tyrannous and strong,’ the poet describes the storm as a strong and powerful tyrant in order to bring out the magnitude of the stormy weather. Such a description of an inanimate object as a human being is called personification.
Find three examples of personification in the poem. What is the effect created by the use of personification?
Answer: Giving lifeless things human characteristics is called personification. In “The Daffodils,” the poet envisions himself as a cloud in the sky. To appreciate the daffodils, a poet should imagine floating above the landscape like a cloud and looking down at the valleys and mountains below. Here, the poet gives the cloud the ability to perceive the daffodils, giving the cloud a sense of agency over something it normally couldn’t. Just like daffodils and waves, humans have the ability to express themselves through dancing. Despite the fact that flowers and waves are physically incapable of dancing, Wordsworth personified them by giving them the ability to do so.
Wordsworth imagined a throng of daffodils to be a group of people. They’re dancing with their heads tossed back and forth, just like people do when they’re happy. Wordsworth uses personification, to demonstrate the inseparability of man from the natural world. The daffodils have come to life, connecting humans to the natural world.
4. Pick out words in the poem which mean “being companionless.” Do you think the poet is happy to find himself in this state? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Words like “wandered lonely,” “vacant,” “pensive,” and “solitude” all refer to being alone in “The Daffodils” poetry.
For the first time in his life, the poet felt content with his solitude. Through his isolation, he learned the need to establish a rapport with the natural world in order to gain perspective on one’s place in the cosmos. He’s enjoying the “bliss of solitude,” and his heart is full of joy.
5. Poets sometimes compare two dissimilar objects or things to make their descriptions more vivid to the reader. These comparisons are, at times, direct. Direct comparison or simile uses words such as like or as to compare two things. In the poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Coleridge highlights the plight of the stationary ship in the following way:
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
A metaphor is an expression that describes a person or object in a literary way by referring to something that is considered to possess similar characteristics to the person or object you are describing. In the ‘Seven Ages of Man’, Shakespeare compares reputation to an ephemeral bubble:
Jealous in honour; sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
Pick out examples of similes and metaphors from the poem ‘The Daffodils’.
Answer: It is clear that the author of “The Daffodils” intended for the use of similes and metaphors to heighten the poem’s artistic impact. Metaphors and similes used in the poem include:
a. “I wandered lonely as a cloud”
This statement contains a simile since it likens the narrator’s solitude to that of a cloud floating in the sky, uniting him with the natural world.
“Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way”
Using a simile, the poem connects the natural world to the cosmos by drawing parallels between the endless march of daffodils and the stars in the Milky Way.
“…..I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils”
Wordsworth used metaphor here, comparing the daffodils to a gathering of people and a multitude of perspectives.
“Tossing their hands in sprightly dance.”
It’s a metaphor because it makes the daffodils sound like they’re dancing and their petals look like they’re swaying and twirling.
“What wealth the show to me had brought”
The poet has utilised a metaphor involving wealth here. In this context, “wealth” does not refer to monetary value. Belief in God is a reflection of our recognising of his majesty and gratitude for his favour on our lives.
6. List out the adjectives describing the waves. Why do you think the poet has described them in such a manner?
Answer: Poetically, the waves in “The Daffodils” are described as “sparkling” with a variety of other similar adjectives. It’s a visual description of the waves that sparkle and flit in the sunshine. The poet has painted a picture of the sea that makes the daffodils sound even brighter and sunnier than they really are. Since everything appears to be dazzling, twinkling, shining, and sparkling, the ‘waves’ dazzle also develops their relationship with the stars. Nature’s jubilant side is brought to light.
Reference to the context
1. Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
(a) What does ‘they’ refer to?
Answer: ‘They’ refers to the golden daffodils.
(b) Why have they been compared to the Milky Way?
Answer: They were like the Milky Way in that they danced joyfully like the stars.
(c) Pick out an example of personification from these lines. What is the picture created by this description?
Answer: Personification can be seen in the phrase “ten thousand sprightly dance.” Like human beings, daffodils express their elation and excitement by dancing and tossing their heads. Despite the fact that daffodils are actually unable to dance, the poet has assigned to them the human quality of the aforementioned activity.
(d) Find an example of a rhyming couplet from these lines.
Answer: The rhyming couplet is:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
2. Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in springhtly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not be but gay
In such a jocund company!
(a) What did the poet see at a glance? Were they really ten thousand in number?
Answer: The poet saw a glimpse of 10,000 daffodils at once. They didn’t number in the tens of thousands, but they were countless.
(b) How did ‘they’ outdo the waves?
Answer: Waves couldn’t match the enthusiasm and joy of the yellow daffodils, so the flowers “out-did” them.
(c) What do the waves refers to?
Answer: The lake water waves are referred to as the “waves.”
(d) How did the scene affect the poet?
Answer: The poet felt a surge of happiness at the sight.
(e) Pick out three words that mean ‘being happy.’
Answer: Glee, gay, jocund.
(f) Find two examples of personification from these lines.
Answer: Two examples of personification from these lines are :
“Tossing their heads in sprightly dance”
In this passage, Wordsworth gives the daffodils human characteristics. Daffodils have been endowed with the ability to dance, much like humans.
“The waves beside them danced.”
Along with daffodils, the waves are endowed with the ability to dance. Waves and daffodils are thus humanised.
3. I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
(a) What is the ‘wealth’ that the poet is referring to in these lines? What kind of poetic device is this?
Answer: The “wealth” in this scene is the view of the golden daffodils. The metaphor serves as a poetic device here.
(b) Why does the poet refer to it as ‘wealth’?
Answer: The poet calls it “wealth” because, like wealth, it gave him joy and happiness when he was alone. It supported him during his difficult moments.
(c) When does the poet feel blissful?
Answer: When the poet is sad and depressed, he experiences bliss.
(d) Had the poet realised the importance of the scene when he had first seen it? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: The poet had not realised the significance of the daffodil scene when he first saw it. He simply looked intently for a long time, becoming cheerful as he took in the beauty of the daffodils. He paid no heed to the effect the view had on his psyche. But it wasn’t until he was alone and in a bad mood that he realised how important it was. Because when the scene passed through his thoughts, it made him joyful, and he forgot about his material surroundings and felt himself among the cheerful daffodils. Only then did he realise that the vista had left him with a treasure trove of joy and brightness.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. How does the poet connect daffodils to other flowers?
Answer: The poet compares a swarm of golden daffodils to the stars. Daffodils, like stars in the Milky Way, are not only numerous, but they also dance in a never-ending line with full vitality and excitement.
4. When did the poet discover the ‘wealth the show had brought’, according to the poet?
Answer: Only after he has returned home does the poet comprehend the significance of the event that has unfolded before his eyes. During his darkest contemplative times, the remembrance of the daffodils brought him serenity and solace.
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