Critical Text Analysis: Daffodils And The Landlady

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“Daffodils” – William Wordsworth

Through the romanticized first-person perspective poem Daffodils, William Wordsworth creates meaning by revealing the ability of nature to transform a person’s perspective and outlook on life. He expresses his infatuation with nature and exemplifies the transformative impact that it can have upon an individual. Wordsworth’s first-person narrative voice reveals a sense of vulnerability, allowing responders to feel an attachment with the poet. Structured in an ABABCC rhyme scheme, featuring rhyming quatrains and couplets, Woodsworth’s rich imagery stands out. The hyperbolic use of personified Imagery is presented through the rhyming couplet, “Ten thousand I saw at glance … sprightly dance.” Here, Wordsworth anthropomorphically depicts daffodils as human-like, invoking his growing fondness for flowers, and the far-reaching impact they have on him. The first stanza reveals Wordsworth’s initial thematic concern of loneliness, through the morbid simile “Lonely as a Cloud.” conveying his lack of purpose and unhappiness. The final quatrain later juxtaposes this image, through the “bliss of solitude,” revealing the cathartic process of Wordsworth’s time among the daffodils. This is reinforced in “A poet could but not be gay,” which characterizes the author’s overarching narrative voice, and epitomizes how individuals can benefit from seeing the beauty in solitude and their surroundings.

“The Landlady” – Roald Dahl

Through third-person omniscient perspective, Roald Dahl’s short story ‘Landlady’, creates and portrays universally relevant themes and ideas, including generational conflict, the loss of innocence that this transition requires, and the tragic inevitability of growing up. Through a simplified adaptation of the classic three-act structure, Dahl creates a feeling of tension, through a plot which characterises its 17-year-old protagonist Billy, as a naive and innocent figure, who is forced to navigate the realities of adulthood. Dahl’s use of imagery throughout, creates an eerie atmosphere, accentuating the setting of a lonely unfamiliar place. Furthermore, imagery is used as a literary device to create ambiguity and inertia. The imagery’s rich simile “this dame was like a jack in the box”, simultaneously implements sinister atmospheric undertones, whilst indirectly characterising the stories antagonist, the Landlady, as menacing, yet discreet. Dahl’s narrative voice deems the Landlady as “Terribly Nice”, oxymoronically exemplifying the characters deceptive demeanour. In composing a short story suitable for both adults and children alike, Dahl manages to create transformative meaning through ambiguous characters and conceptual themes, allowing readers to interpret both his narrative voice and the text as a whole, according to their own ideas and perspectives.  

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