The Wild Wood Flower – A Great American Classic, But What Does it Mean?

I am going to twine ‘mid the ringlets

Of my raven black hair,

The lilies so pale

And the roses so truthful.

With out argument probably the most charming, intriguing, and charming of all early American people poems and songs is The Wildwood Flower. Its haunting story has arrested the fascination and loyalty of untold 1000’s. A significant characteristic of its fascination and holding-power lies in the truth that it’s a riddle that has by no means been solved. Clearly, because the poem unfolds, the Wildwood Flower is a jilted woman, however what’s the that means of the opposite metaphors and symbols constructed into this traditional? 

Because the heartbroken lover sits alone within the wooded vale that was as soon as their trysting place, she winds the locks of her raven black hair purposefully round her fingers. That picture is obvious sufficient however then the lyric turns into imprecise. Are the lilies flowers of the glen or are they a metaphor for one thing else? And what are the meanings of the roses, the myrtle, and the pale amanita with shiny blue eyes? To the discerning reader or listener is clear that one thing aside from the literal is meant right here. The amanita is a lethal poison toadstool generally known as the Demise Hood. It doesn’t have shiny blue eyes. And what might be stated about the remainder of the lyric? Is it merely a lament and a fantasy to attempt to consolation herself in her heartbreak and loneliness; or is it the revelation of a intelligent plot to take revenge on this opportunistic swain who has compromised her after which misplaced curiosity?

I’m going to supply some ideas as to what this fascinating story says to me however earlier than I do I wish to preface it with some realities concerning the instances through which this occurred, and these sorts of conditions. Within the lonely backwoods of early America alternatives for love and a future didn’t come round that always. Beside that, within the instances through which this poem was written, a woman who had misplaced her advantage had a tremendously diminished likelihood of discovering marriage and happiness with a decent man. Mendacity to a younger girl, telling her you really liked her, seducing her, after which going off and leaving her was nearly a demise sentence. The hatred and vengeance that finally emerged from these numbing heartbreaks usually resulted within the demise of the offender. There are a lot of such tales which have caught on as legends from the agricultural settings of early America. There’s Frankie and Johnny, the Banks of the Ohio, Barbara Allen, and lots of others the place jilted love and betrayal resulted within the demise of the perpetrator. That having stated, I want to provide you with my model of the that means of this elusive story. 

It’s apparent that I possess no particular insights and what I’m going to say is nothing greater than my very own opinion. It’s not provided to contradict the conclusions of anybody else, to intrude into the sanctuary which will have been constructed up in anybody’s thoughts about this haunting story, or to in any means offend anybody. It’s simply my providing as to what’s going down right here.

I am going to twine ‘mid the ringlets

Of my raven black hair,

The lilies so pale

And the roses so truthful,

The myrtle so shiny

With an emerald hue,

And the pale amanita

With eyes of shiny blue.  

A woman is sitting, most likely within the all-together, in a wooded glen the place she used to fulfill together with her lover, the place she succumbed to his lies of affection and marriage, and the place she misplaced her advantage. The final line of verse Three reveals that she is a frail woman and never an ideal bodily magnificence, however she has some charms. She has raven black hair which she is absently however aggressively twisting round her fingers. The Tune of Solomon and different historic literature lay the muse for inferring that lilies are her breasts. The roses are her glowing crimson cheeks, not glowing now due to love and pleasure as in verse 2, however on this occasion burning with anger and harm. The myrtle is the darkish inexperienced lashes over her eyes and the pale amanita is the ghostly white face, colorless with rage and hatred (the demise hood), out of which shiny blue eyes are blazing as if to make seem earlier than her now within the glen the scene that she is envisioning in her thoughts.


I am going to sing and I am going to dance,  

My snort shall be homosexual;  

I am going to stop this wild weeping – 

Drive sorrow away,  

Tho’ my coronary heart is now breaking,  

He by no means shall know  

That his title made me tremble  

And my pale cheeks to glow.  

The woman has struggled with heartbreak and harm till her tears are dry. Now the determined however futile hope that he’ll return to her has pale. As a replacement a plan for revenge has begun to kind. Initially she should cease appearing as if she cares. She should come to the occasion, throw herself with abandonment into the sport, allure each man whom she will be able to, and make herself an merchandise of debate and an object of ambition. All of this will probably be part of her plot to get even with him for what he has finished to her however he must not ever understand it. He have to be made to consider that she cared no extra about him than he did about her and that he was simply one other of her flings.


I am going to consider him by no means –

I will be wildly homosexual,  

I am going to allure ev’ry coronary heart,  

And the group I’ll sway,  

I am going to dwell but to see him,  

Remorse the darkish hour  

When he gained, then uncared for,  

The frail wildwood flower.  

Till the lure is able to spring she should put him out of her thoughts and apply herself to her plan. She’s going to let her hair down and be the lifetime of the occasion. She’s going to play the lover to each man whom she will be able to allure. Why not? What’s there for her to lose now? However this will probably be an act, not the true wishes of her coronary heart. The aim is to make him jealous. Such younger males as he are egocentric and possessive. The time will come when he’ll start to surprise what he has walked away from and he’ll finally take the bait and are available again to her. When he does, their assembly place won’t be the dance corridor however once more the wild wooden glen the place he broke her coronary heart and ruined her life. Her plan will succeed and he’ll come again, however he won’t ever depart her once more. As soon as she has him within the energy of her charms the demise hood will engulf him and take his life from him.


He instructed me he liked me,  

And promis’d to like,  

Trough sick and misfortune,  

All others above,  

One other has gained him;  

Ah, distress to inform;  

He left me in silence –

no phrase of farewell.  

Because the woman sits within the wild wooden and contemplates her drastic scheme, she begins to rationalize. It’s his fault; not hers. He instructed her liked her and he or she believed him or she would by no means have given herself away to him. He spoke of affection and lifelong dedication and he was so convincing. He callously took her life and future to satisfy his lust and greed. He shattered her desires and grand hopes for husband, house, and household, after which walked away with out a lot as a “goodbye.”


He taught me to like him,  

He name’d me his flower  

That blossom’d for him  

All of the brighter every hour;  

However I woke from my dreaming,  

My idol was clay;  

My visions of affection  

Have all pale away.  

Clearly an intimate marital relationship is indicated right here. No woman must be “taught” how one can have emotions of affection and endearment. The candy intimacy that must have belonged to her soul mate alone was given to this deceiver. He instructed her the issues she wished to listen to. “She was what he had at all times wished and what he lived for. She was his superb wildwood flower that stored opening out its blossom larger and brighter every hour.”

However then the dream vanished within the harsh gentle of actuality. It was all a lie. Her marvelous idol was nothing extra {that a} pile of grime. He was gone, and with him her hopes for a cheerful future. He had killed her, and now she had a plot to get even. It was justified; what he had finished to her, she would do to him.

Might this frail nation woman truly perform her plan for vengeance? Did her wild scheme have an opportunity of success? Was she one other Frankie with a pistol behind her again?  Who is aware of? And for the narrative, it doesn’t matter. She is a crushed, jilted, and heartbroken nation maid who has been used and solid apart; and he or she is making an attempt desperately to outlive. She seeks to search out some satisfaction for the mistaken that has been finished her. She’s going to make him pay; he has to pay. If in no different means, it has all performed out earlier than her within the meadow this present day whereas she sits as she was when she noticed him final, twists her raven black hair forcefully round he lengthy white fingers, and seeks comfort in emotions of revenge.

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