British Literature II
April 16, 2019
The Romantic Period, which occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, gave rise to many great contributors to literature as it is known today. Romanticism was a movement characterized by the rejection of social conformity, industrialization, and reason; to favor individualism, emotion, imagination and beauty. Many poets and other authors rode the wave of romanticism to a place of fame. Among the most influential of these figures are poets William Blake and William Wordsworth. Blake and Wordsworth embodied the ideals of romanticism in their works, yet each author had differing beliefs within the boundaries of the movement. The authors used an array of metaphors, symbolism, and imagery to convey an underlying belief. Blake and Wordsworth both incorporate their beliefs into their works through unique techniques and themes that center around the portrayal of children, women, and nature. These themes are used in several of both Blake and Wordsworth’s to express their views of time, love, and the sublime, areas of which are common among romantic literature.
Blake and Wordsworth both used children as a source of symbolism for their beliefs about the nature of man. The portrayal of children allowed the authors to comment on the effects of time on human nature. Also, the use of children characters provided Wordsworth a way to use real-life language, which he notes to be preferred in poetry. Blake uses children characters to illustrate youthful naïve nature. The portrayal of children in Blake and Wordsworth’s can be seen in several of their works. Wordsworth shows this portrayal in his poem, “We are Seven.” In this poem Wordsworth portrays a conversation between two adults about an interaction one of them had with a little girl. In the conversation the adult had with the little girl it is mentioned that she had seven siblings but two of them had died. The little girl refuses follow the logic of the adult who claims that if two are dead then there are only five siblings. The back-and-forth language used highlights the different point of views being laid out. The little girl, representative of man’s youthful nature, is happy and does not acknowledge the death of her siblings as separation nor waiver in her beliefs. However, the adult does not understand the little girl’s imagination. This contrast between the characters highlights Wordsworth’s view on the effects of time of human nature. He shows that the process of aging and outgrowing youthful ideas causes a lack of imagination and innocence. He also portrays the little girl as being very in-tune with the nature around her. Wordsworth believed that nature was equivalent to the presence of God and therefore this quality would attribute to the little girl’s innocence and purity. Blake uses the portrayal children in some of his works as well, but it conveys message different from Wordsworth. In Blake’s...