The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals Summary

The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals Summary

Having lost her mother when she was only six-years-old, Dorothy writes about the tenderness of her time living with her brother in her first stable home since her mother's death. First in Alfoxden briefly, then in Grasmere, the two siblings took up residence together. They enjoy constant companionship, William writing poetry about their various escapades. Dorothy records their adventures in her journals, but she merely describes her external world, devoid of commentary regarding her own experience.

Dorothy and William take many walks through the countryside. As a fan of the outdoors, Dorothy records at length descriptions of weather, flowers, animals, etc. She attempts to capture the impression of each country scene they encounter. With numerous synchronicities with William's poetry, Dorothy relates her perspective on their time together.

Together they meet many of the other occupants of the village and nearby farms. Dorothy recalls meeting the Leech Gatherer, a figure of Wordsworth's poetry. He tells her about losing his ten children. Inspired by kindness, Dorothy makes a habit of meeting as many vagrants and poor people as she can. She asks them their stories and records them. Additionally she devotes her time to voracious reading.

Despite these pastimes, Dorothy is plagued by constant illness. She can't bring herself to respond to the various correspondences of concerned parties from her childhood. Finally, she breaks down entirely when she learns the William is engaged to Mary Hutchinson. He leaves his sister behind at Grasmere, but she ends her journal a few months later, the later passages demonstrating an extreme disturbance of energy. She never regains her former bliss after her brother leaves.

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