A Marxist Perspective Of Wordsworth's 'i Wandered Lonely As A Cloud' Boston College, English Literature Essay

976 words - 4 pages

To what extent can a Marxist perspective be applied to the poems ‘I wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ ‘London, 1802,’ and ‘The World is Too Much With Us’?
Using ideas from the critical anthology to inform your argument, to what extent do you agree with this view?
Wordsworth has an intense focus on nature within the poem. The title ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ implies an inherent unity between man and nature, with Wordsworth personifying nature to have human characteristics.
Wordsworth’s focus on nature in the poem can be shaped into a Marxist perspective, in the sense that Wordsworth desperately tries to escape the reality of his time, and thus dwells outside the realm of mainstream capitalism through his intense focus on nature, with effort to escape the fetishism of commodities, the inequality among social classes, the poverty rate, and the materialistic culture, which was and still is embedded within our societal values and norms, particularly in capitalist societies.
The poem, which is constructed of four short stanzas, consisting of six lines each, dates back to between 1804 and 1807, but was later revised in 1815. It is constructed in iambic tetrameter, expressing a sense of urgency for Wordsworth to escape the reality of his time, while projecting his thoughts in a coherent manner so as to explain his point clearly. The poem consistently keeps the reader engaged on the wonders of nature, and is consistently clear and thorough in description, with ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’ as one of the many examples in which he personifies nature.
During the first stanza, Wordsworth focuses on the surroundings with which he is present, with significance from the first line, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud.’ While seemingly simple, Wordsworth’s language can be analysed from a multitude of perspectives. Wordsworth’s personification of the cloud and his description of being ‘lonely,’ implies that the experience which he had beheld at the time had the poet lost in reverie, as he was left to himself and thus his own thoughts, and as consequence, used the imagery to dwell outside of the realm of mainstream capitalism. Furthermore, the use of the word ‘cloud’ could range many ideas. For instance, the cloud could symbolise his uncertainty, as clouds are generally transparent or translucent, thus acting as a metaphor to express his feeling of isolation from the rest of society and the societal values which were heavily embedded. It could also be argued that imagery of uncertainty in this context could stem from Wordsworth’s use of individualism, the premise of which focuses less on collective values and more human individuality, holding the belief that the human individual is of primary importance in the context of liberation. The use of individualism isn’t a staple in the poem, but there are parts of his poetry, such as in the title, in which personal pronouns such as ‘I’ can be interpreted as a form of resistance to the collective sentiment of his ti...


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