Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I wandered lonely as a cloud

In the first stanza the speaker describes a time when he meandered over the valleys and hills, "lonely as a cloud." Finally, he came across a crowd of daffodils stretching out over almost everything he could see, "fluttering and dancing in the breeze":

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
In the second stanza the speaker goes into more detail about the daffodils. They reminded him of the Milky Way, because there were so many flowers packed together that they seemed to be neverending. The speaker guesses that there were ten thousand daffodils, which were "Tossing their heads in sprightly dance":
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.
In the third stanza the speaker compares the waves of the lake to the waves of daffodils and decides that even though the lake is "sparkling," the daffodils win because they have more "glee." He then comments that he, like any other poet, could not help but be happy "in such a jocund company." He looked at the scene for a long time, but while he was there he was unable to understand what he had gained from the experience:
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
In the fourth and final stanza the poet describes what he gained from the experience. Afterwards, when he was lonely or feeling "pensive," he could remember the daffodils, seeing them with his "inward eye," and be content:
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;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
"I wandered lonely as a cloud" takes place in the Lake District of Northern England. The area is famous for its hundreds of lakes, gorgeous expanses of springtime daffodils, and for being home to the "Lakeland Poets": William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, and Robert Southey.
This poem, obviously inspired by Wordsworth's stomping grounds, is well-loved because of its simple yet beautiful rhythms and rhymes, and its rather sentimental topic. The poem consists of four six-line stanzas, each of which follow an ababcc rhyme scheme and are written in iambic tetrameter, giving the poem a subtle back-and-forth motion that recalls swaying daffodils.
By comparing himself to a cloud in the first line of the poem, the speaker signifies his close identification with the nature that surrounds him. He also demonstrates this connection by personifying the daffodils several times, even calling them a "crowd" as if they are a group of people.
The idea of remembering the beauty of nature even when not in its presence appears in several of Wordsworth's later poems, including "Tintern Abbey," "Ode; Intimations of Immortality," and "The Solitary Reaper." Even though the speaker is unable to appreciate the memory he is creating as he stands in the field, he later realizes the worth that it takes on in sad and lonely moments. › Wordsworth's Poetical WorksStudy Guide-27.09.2012
D.N. Aloysius

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

William Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is a lyric poem focusing on the poet's response to the beauty of nature. (A lyric poem presents the deep feelings and emotions of the poet rather than telling a story or presenting a witty observation.) The final version of the poem was first published in Collected Poems in 1815. An earlier version was published in Poems in Two Volumes in 1807 as a three-stanza poem. The final version has four stanzas. Wordsworth wrote the earlier version in 1804, two years after seeing the lakeside daffodils that inspired the poem.
Setting and Background Information
The poem recaptures a moment on April 15, 1802, when Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, were walking near a lake at Grasmere, Cumbria County, England, and came upona shore lined with daffodils. Grasmere is in northwestern England's Lake District, between Morecambe Bay on the south and Solway Firth on the north. The Lake District extends twenty-five miles east to west and thirty miles north to south. Among its attractions are England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike (3,210 feet), and Esthwaite Lake and other picturesque meres radiating outward, like the points of a star, from the town of Grasmere. Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, moved to a cottage at Grasmere in 1799. After Wordsworth married in 1802, his wife resided there also. The family continued to live there until 1813. The Lake District was the haunt of not only Wordsworth but also poets Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas De Quincey. Dorothy, who kept a diary, described what she and her brother saw on that April day in 1802:
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up-- But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road . . . [S]ome rested their heads on [mossy] stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway... --Rain came on, we were wet.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
While wandering like a cloud, the speaker happens upon daffodils fluttering in a breeze on the shore of a lake, beneath trees. Daffodils are plants in the lily family with yellow flowers and a crown shaped like a trumpet. Click here to see images of daffodils.

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
The daffodils stretch all along the shore. Because there are so many of them, they remind the speaker of the Milky Way, the galaxy that scientists say contains about one trillion stars, including the sun. The speaker humanizes the daffodils when he says they are engaging in a dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:--
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:.....18
In their gleeful fluttering and dancing, the daffodils outdo the rippling waves of the lake. But the poet does not at this moment fully appreciate the happy sight before him. In the last line of the stanza, Wordsworth uses anastrophe, writing the show to me had brought instead of the show brought to me. Anastrophe is an inversion of the normal word order.
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,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils
Not until the poet later muses about what he saw does he fully appreciate the cheerful sight of the dancing daffodils. Wordsworth again uses anastrophe, writing when on my couch I lie and my heart with pleasure fills.
Examples of Figures of Speech
Alliteration: lonely as a cloud (line 1).
Simile: Comparison (using as) of the speaker's solitariness to that of a cloud (line 1).
Personification: Comparison of the cloud to a lonely human. (line 1)
Alliteration: high o'er vales and Hills (line 2).
Alliteration: When all at once (line 3). (Note that the w and o have the same consonant sound.)
Personification/Metaphor: Comparison of daffodils to a crowd of people (lines 3-4).
Alliteration: Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Personification/Metaphor: Comparison of daffodils to dancing humans (lines 4, 6).

Structure and Rhyme Scheme
The poem contains four stanzas of six lines each. In each stanza, the first line rhymes with the third and the second with the fourth. The stanza then ends with a rhyming couplet. Wordsworth unifies the content of the poem by focusing the first three stanzas on the experience at the lake and the last stanza on the memory of that experience.

In the first stanza, line 6 appears to veer from the metrical format. However, Wordsworth likely intended fluttering to be read as two syllables (flut' 'RING) instead of three so that the line maintains iambic tetrameter.
1. Nature' s beauty uplifts the human spirit. Lines 15, 23, and 24 specifically refer to this theme.
2. People sometimes fail to appreciate nature's wonders as they go about their daily routines. Lines 17 and 18 suggest this theme.
3. Nature thrives unattended. The daffodils proliferate in splendor along the shore of the lake without the need for human attention.
Wordsworth and Romanticism
In English literature, Wordsworth and his friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, were pioneers in the development of the Romantic Movement, or romanticism, a movement that championed imagination and emotions as more powerful than reason and systematic thinking. "What I feel about a person or thing," a romantic poet might have said, "is more important than what scientific investigation, observation, and experience would say about that person or thing." Intuition-that voice within that makes judgments and decisions without the aid of reason--was a guiding force to the romantic poet. So was nature. Romanticism began in the mid-1700's as a rebellion against the principles of classicism. Whereas classicism espoused the literary ideals of ancient Greece and Rome--objectivity, emotional restraint, and formal rules of composition that writers were expected to follow--romanticism promoted subjectivity, emotional effusiveness, and freedom of expression . "I want to write my way," the romantic poet might have said, "not the way that writers in ancient times decreed that I should write."
Study Questions and Writing Topics
1. In the preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800), written by Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth presents his definition of poetry:
Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.
Write an essay explaining whether "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" illustrates what Wordsworth was saying in his definition.

2. Wordsworth believed that nature and human intuition impart knowledge and wisdom not found in books and formal education. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

3. Identify an example of hyperbole in the poem.

4. If Wordsworth had written walked instead of wandered in the first line, would he have ruined the poem? Explain your answer.

5. Write a short poem focusing on a natural wonder--a flower, a mountain, a waterfall, a violent storm, an animal, or a solar or lunar eclipse--that impressed you.
D.N. Aloysius

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grammar Translation Method

Grammar-translation method began in Germany (Prussia), at the end of the 18th century and became popular in early years of the 19th century

·         Traditional Scholastic Approach - to acquire a reading knowledge of foreign langauges by studying a grammar & applying this knowledge to the interpretation of texts with the use of a dictionary
·         Scholastic Methods did not fit group teaching in classrooms for young school pupils

Grammar-Translation Method (G.M.) attempted to adopt these traditions to the requirements and circumstances of schools. It preserved the basic framework of grammar and translation because they were already familiar to teachers and pupils from their classical studies.
·         Feature:
o    to replace the traditional texts with sample sentences
o    entences for translation into and out of the foreign language
·         The concept of "practical" appeared in 19th century language course. For us, practical means "useful," but in the 19th century a practical course was one required "practice"
·         Purpose:
o    to pass the formal written examinations
o    to present the grammar in a more concentrated and clear way
Grammar Translation Method started out as a simple approach to language learning for young school children. The real bad grammar translation coursebooks were not those written by well-known names such as Ahn & Ollendorff, but those specially designed for use in secondary schools by ambitious schoolmasters, Tiarks & Weisse (German).

Tiark: "Introductory Grammar"
·         took out parts of speech in German with their declensions & conjugations (short reading texts, rules of grammar)

Weisse: "A Complete Practical Grammar of the German Language"
·         the test is densely packed, crammed with facts, lists, cross-references to other parts of the book
·         Weissie's book is not a reference book, but a textbook for use in class. The children were expected to learn all of these nonsense
Ahn and Ollendorff
·         Background
o    Emigration from Europe to the United States
o    Industrialization
·         They adopted a grading system that"rationed" the learner to one
or two new rules per lesson and generally tried to keep the detail
of explanation under some control
o    Learners could not expect to learn FLs by traditional methods, unlike academic "grammar school" learner
o    A new approach was needed to suit their particular circumstances and it emerged in the form of "direct" methods which require no knowledge of grammar at all
Frans Ahn (1796-1865): A new practical and easy method
·         Pronunciation and learning materials: each odd-numbered section (1, 3, 5…) gives grammar summary, new vocabulary items, sentences to translate into the mother tongue; each even-numbered section (2, 4, 6…) contains sentences to translate into foreign language and no new teaching points
·         Ahn's grammar requires a minimum knowledge of grammatical terminology: singular, plural, masculine, feminine, etc.; useful vocabulary; practice sentences are short and easy to translate
·         Ahn's textbooks follow his feeling for simplicity; proceed one step at a time, with not too many words in each lesson, plenty of practce
H.G. Ollendorff (1803-1865)
"A new method of learning to read, write, and speak, a language in six months." - taught German to French and English speakers
·         Features of his course
o    obscure theory of interaction: In this exercise, the structure of declarative sentences ('answer') is closed to the structure of interrogatives ('question').
o    He is the first textbook writer to use a graded linguistic syllabus seriously; his grading system is heavily influenced by convention and logic
·         Ahn and Ollendorffs' practical aims were appreciated, but they were criticized for the lack of profundity