Rousseau opens his ‘Fifth Walk’ recalling the two months he spent on the Island of St Pierre happily basking in nature and dedicating time to idleness and solitude. Later, he reveals that he was not entirely alone on the Island. Wordsworth’s speaker also opens the poem, ‘Tintern Abbey,’ recalling the secluded scene of the banks of the Wye, which reflect his own secluded thoughts. Later, he, too, reveals the presence of a companion – his sister Dorothy.

In the light of this observation, examine Rousseau’s and Wordsworth’s paradoxical sentiments towards solitude and the self.

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