Ted Hughes’s poem “Daffodils” and William Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud” Are two of the best poems that show man’s connection with nature. Although they show the memories and representation of nature differently, daffodils, the bulbous and glorious European plant with shinning bright yellow flowers, is a central element of the poems. Both poems show daffodils as a good way to connect with nature that reminds of good memories and love that they had in their lives. The connections between the memories of the narrators helps in showing the interconnectedness of love and emotions as well as the experiences that the narrators go through in the process of love and its pain.
Both poets depict daffodils as a source of good moments of their love lives. For Wordsworth, it is the love that he had walking by the sea and seeing them. He remembers them while on the chair and feels joy. “For oft, when on my couch I lie… In vacant or in pensive mood… They flash upon that inward eye” (Joplin 67). The narrator uses the imagery of daffodils to show the need to have a connection with his best emotions. He remembers the dancing of the daffodils, a feeling that gives him both satisfaction and calmness. For Hughes, the memories of the love between the narrator and his or her spouse (there is no mention of whether it was the husband or the wife) especially through the hard times is the memory that comes with the Daffodils. The glorious flowers therefore help in creation of a memory of love. “Were we so poor? Old Stoneman, the grocer” (Hadley 195).
The daffodils are also used to show contrasting imagery of the experiences of the narrators remembering what memory they attach to them. Wordsworth remembers the dancing daffodils, an image that is used to represent dancers on the dance floor. It is not only a glorious sight but also a sight that gives him a memory to cling on. “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (Joplin 67). However, Hughes contrasts this feeling because the narrator’s memory of the daffodils were not beautiful sights but a source of money as they were poor. The narrator seems to use the sight of daffodils to berate the ambitions that he or she had with the spouse. There were not even sure they wanted to be married or to own anything yet they were selling daffodils because they were so poor. As a result, while Wordsworth shows the calm and satisfaction that comes with the sight of the daffodils, Hughes shows the turbulence and poverty that came with it.
Daffodils are a show of abundance and satisfaction for Wordsworth while they are a show of lack of abundance, poverty, and memories of a love founded on wrong actions by Hughes. For Hughes, the narrator shows the regret at the destruction of the daffodils and selling them as though they did not own them. “We thought they were a windfall. Never guessed they were a last blessing” (Hadley 195). The depiction and tone is of regret and self-pity. However, Wordsworth shows the wealth and joy as well as satisfaction that the memory of the daffodils will being. “What wealth the show to me had brought” (Joplin 67). The tone is one of satisfaction and grace that the narrator feels at the sight of the daffodils.
The poems are similar in their depiction of daffodils as an element of memory and an element of love and its goodness. The poems talk about memories that are elicited by the daffodils. For Hughes, he notes that the daffodils are the memories that the lovers and couples had forgotten. Perhaps, the memories are preferred as forgotten rather than vivid and fresh in the minds of the couples. “…those that remain and those forgotten by some” (Hadley 195). There is a feeling of excitement in the by the narrator is important because it shows the need for the narrator to hang on to the good memories of love even in moments when they were poor. As the narrator in Words, there is a good memory of the daffodils when he sits on the char and remembers them. There is a good and positive connection to them that gives a sense of satisfaction and joy. However, Hughes shows the opposite, a feeling that the narrator did not make good decisions and they were too poor to think well about their love and union. Daffodils are therefore a symbol of contrast in love experiences and encounters that help in advancing and moving the theme of love and companionship.
While both poets depict daffodils as a source of memory that they cling on to remember people and things that they loved, Wordsworth is optimistic and shows love, wealth, and satisfaction. On the other end, Hughes shows regret and resentment at the actions that the narrator and how or her spouse took. It is a memory of hoe they tried to make their love work.
Hadley, Edward. “Ted Hughes’ Poetry of Healing.” Ted Hughes: From Cambridge to Collected, 2013, pp. 194–204., doi:10.1057/9781137276582_14.
Joplin, David. “Wordsworths I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” The Explicator, vol. 56, no. 2, 1998, pp. 67–70., doi:10.1080/00144949809595258.
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