Solitary reaper and The Night Waitress
There are various similarities and as well as differences between both the poems. Although they deal with the same theme i.e. ordinary men of life but their treatment of the individual are different. This difference is primarily due to difference in Wordworth’s and Lynda’s primary concerns and ultimate objectives. Hence the thematic expressions of both the poets diverge from the main point i.e. depiction of common man. Both poems are similar in style and diction.
Simplicity of poetic diction is the most distinguishing character of both poems. Both Wordsworth and Lynda do not employ or infuse heavy or far-fetched symbols and ornamented language to support their thematic expressions.
An important feature of both poems is that they take subject matters from the common life at large that spreads all around the poets. “The Solitary Reaper” and “Night Waitress” is all about common people or manifestations of nature. Ms. Hull encircles concepts related to the religious phenomenon and focus on its miraculous nature.
Religious miracles are cited time and again in the poem but primary theme of the poem remains the real depiction of an ordinary man i.e. waitress and her wants and wishes. Ms Hull also locates the psychological being in waitress and exposes the motives behind her longings and cravings. The sole concern of the waitress is the professional and personal growth and she is preoccupied with no other activity of life. Hence the poem becomes a manifestation of materialistic world that always yearns for more and more.
Another important similarity between the poems is that both protagonists are female but seemingly readers get a lot about the protagonist of “The Night Waitress” through the poem because of its unifocal agenda i.e. it only takes into consideration the protagonist and different things that are related to her. In contrast to “The Night Waitress”, “solitary reaper” is a mysterious character as Wordsworth does not narrate much about her. His (Wordsworth) focus is nature and he only places solitary reaper in that context to augment the beauty of nature. Narrator in “The Night Waitress” is an average female in contemporary society with commonplace concerns and wishes. But the female described in “The Solitary Reaper” is not an ordinary one. Although she belongs to common locality but she herself is some thing extraordinary. She is singer with exceptional voice quality and her songs reflect pathos and miseries in her life because as she “sings a melancholy strain,”(Line 6) She is not a character that can easily be forgotten. Same is the case with “The Night Waitress”. One must note here that Lynda only describes what she observes about the waitress but Wordsworth imaginative flight compels him to add romantic imagination to his narrative.
Both poems encircle the Wordsworthian definition of poetry as “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” as they manifest poets’ dominant emotions in the form of poetry. Unlike conventional poets who used to show their mastery on every topic given to them or chosen by them, these particular poets only considers a manifestation of powerful internal feeling and meditation.
Another important difference between the two poems is the imagery. Nature is the passion of Wordsworth and most of his poems sets in nature or is associated with natural phenomenon. Same is the case with “The Solitary reaper” as nature prevails everywhere and is explained, narrated and discussed in relation with primary theme of the poem. Fields, Vale, highland, nightingale etc. are there and are the ultimate stamp of Wordsworthian poetry. In contrast to him, Lynda main concern is limited to the maximum exposition of the primary theme and its various facets.
Lynda like symbolists tend too view the reality through the perspective of contrasting level of being. Her character i.e. waitress has paradoxical feelings but above all there is a constant yearning to trespass these contrasting levels of self to achieve the materialistic success. Her attraction toward Cadillac that was passing nearby is a manifestation of this desire. Thus the poem is anti-romantic in the sense that it insists on the gulf that separates waitress romantic imagination and urges her to live among the realities of day-to-day existence. These anti-romantic notions further urge the waitress to desire for something common, available and achievable. So she directly opposes the Romantic conception and attempt to bring the two i.e. being and imagination closer.
In complete contrast to Lynda Hull, Wordsworth’s theme is highly romantic. As it is Wordsworth style and technique, he consciously threw a coloring of imagination over common natural things and tried to make them super-natural. Same is the case with “The Solitary Reaper” as Wordsworth has taken into account a “highland lass” that is wandering around in the field singing a song. That song has a tone of unfamiliarity in it for Wordsworth. So he takes it and color it with his powerful romantic imagination. In this way he makes the lass a character that has something mysterious and super-human about her.
It seems clear from both poems that both poets have chosen and utilized the whimsical, sentimental topics and have treated them evasively. Although both topics are highly serious but are not too grand. Although this thematic humbleness matches the overall poetic theory and philosophy of Wordsworth but Lynda has not such pre-conceived notion. Her concerns seem to remain round upward social mobility of females. And this concern forces her to write poem with thematic humbleness and is signified through some under-woven feminist themes in the poem.
Another important difference is the interest in and awareness of urban and rural life. One concentrates on the beauties and delights of rural life whereas other looks at the pathetic and miserable but yet fast life urban life. Lynda takes notice of the changes in the socio-cultural life of the urban centers. Wordsworth seems to be a poet of countryside, of man in nature. He drew a lot of significance from simple and natural life of the countryside and has universalized the experience in this poem in a conscious and disciplined way.
On the whole both poems are identical in various ways like use of simple poetic diction, ordinary man and woman as subjects, simple narrative technique but they are dissimilar in various other contexts. Both use different frameworks to manifest their themes and their primary concerns differ primarily. Overall, both poem have treated their subjects in an excellent way and had conveyed whatever poet desired to get conveyed.
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