The reaper’s song immediately triggers the poet’s imagination and he becomes interested in what she is singing. However he does not know of what she is referring to. Throughout this poem, he makes referrals to the fact that he does not know of what she sings. I took this to mean that as she is in Scotland, and Wordsworth himself was of English origin, he couldn’t understand the native language of the Scottish Highland woman. He imagines that the song is about some unhappy incident or about some battles fought long ago. But whatever the subject of the song is (which he does not find out), its sweet music made a deep and lasting impression in poet’s mind.
The poet makes numerous referrals to the fact that the reaper is alone. I think that in saying this, Wordsworth is trying to put across a point that she is maybe morning over something. However, I think that he is more bothered by the fact that she is solitary than the reaper herself. There are a few occasions where Wordsworth is addressing the reader directly. The first time in which he uses this is in the first line. I think that he intended his first line to grab the attention of the reader and in addressing the reader directly within the first few words. All of the times in which he refers directly to the reader, Wordsworth uses very blunt and harsh verbs within what he is saying. I think that this is also meant to grab the reader’s attention and direct them into the mood of the poem. Some of these directive verbs are: ‘Behold her’, ‘Stop here’, ‘O listen!’
I think that this poem has an underlying tone of severity and sombreness. It also has a quite depressing tone, however, the poet contrasts this by saying that the woman’s beauty and vocal talent is in comparative lines with nature itself. I think that the poet also meant for the poem to be quite sad and sombre as it adds to the mystery of the reaper. The poet wants the reader to focus upon the fact that reaper is alone and she seems to be singing happily to herself. However, I think that in doing this, Wordsworth is saying that she is not happy with her solitude and being unaccompanied.
The poem’s structure is simple – the first stanza sets the scene, the second offers two bird comparisons for the music, the third wonders about the content of the songs, and the fourth describes the effect of the songs on the poet. In addition, the final two lines bring the focus of the poem back to memory and thoughts of the poet. This is done just to round off the poem and give it a more rational ending. The stanzas are set out in four blocks of eight lines. There is a constant rhyming scheme throughout the poem; however it alters slightly in the 1st and 4th stanzas. I think that the wording has an unvarying sombre tone. The poem also uses a lot of enjambment. I think that Wordsworth does this to keep the poems tone regular, but also to enhance the complexity of the poem and make his point come across easier. Wordsworth’s choice of verbs develops ‘The Solitary Reaper’ and makes the poem more powerful and interesting. Inclusive are: ‘Behold’, ‘Stop’, ‘Cuts’, ‘Breaking’, ‘Mounted’ and ‘Bore’. These verbs add tension to the poem.
Wordsworth’s poem relates to the cultural climate by showing a working class person in the fields working in solidarity. This could mean that he thinks that many people are moving to towns and industry and therefore to be working in the fields is a solitary life but is more natural and incorrupt than a working class person in the city. Therefore he shows that working closely with nature inspires people to have beauty and a simple life over money and a hard industrial life.