Romanticism Poetry - The World Is Too Much With Us - William Wordsworth - University Of Johannesburg - English 2B - Essay

1042 words - 5 pages

Kenny Mnisi 201572437 ENG2BB2
1 | P a g e
The Romantic era poetry has values of liberation, morality, empathy and tranquillity to
name a few. It has embedded in it imagery such as images of nature, bondage, freedom
and hope. This essay will discuss how William Wordsworth’s “The world is too much
with us” (1807) captures the central tenets of the Romantic era taking into consideration
these values and imagery. It will do this by firstly, discussing the central tenets of the
Romantic era. contextualizing the “industrial revolution”, “consumerism” and
“spirituality” linked to “nature”. Secondly, the link of consumerism to the industrial
revolution and how “consumer behavior” is seen as equally revolting as its counterpart
– the industrial revolution according to Romantics. Thirdly, how imagery was used to
indicate a solution to this revolt using the imagery of spirituality linked to nature. To
this end capturing the values and imagery according to Romantics point of view to the
central tenets of the Romantic era.
People in the Romantic period had a view that the “industrial revolution” in the romantic
era was revolting. It brought about consumerism and different classes of people. Which
was equally revolting. This means that industrialisation was detestable as the actions it
brought about were immoral when looking at the standards of those industries where
people had bondage to. Moreover, according to Romantics the employees had “given
[their] hearts away,”. “a sordid boon” (l.4) of the actions which symbolises the immoral
bondage to these industries. Furthermore, Peck (2014) examines the use of nature as a
contradiction to the harshness of the industrial revolution when she states “nature was
a predominant Romantic theme in the light of the Industrial Revolution, which not only
posed a threat to its preservation, but also prompted a rise in local countryside tourism
to escape the expanding urban areas”. Herein, examining Carl Thompson’s observation
on, ‘their appreciation of landscape, and especially of wild or what was often termed
“romantic” scenery’ [2]. Clearly industrialization has a negative effect in nature as
“Romantics” longed for this nature that disappeared with the expansion of urban areas.
This longing which they had for nature expressed that industrialization was detestable.
The immorality of it being taking away the peace and pureness of nature and replacing
it with overcrowding of urban areas and the industries that were growing and required
many people to move into the city to ‘give [their] hearts away’ (l.4) to these industries.
The immorality of it was the view mostly by Wordsworth.
Kenny Mnisi 201572437 ENG2BB2
2 | P a g e
The view of consumerism that is linked to the industrialisation as both detestable as
viewed in the poem. For example, the speaker says that through “getting and spending
we lay waste our powers” (l.2). This can be viewed in two different ways. Firstly, the
central tenet of nature as a source of purity ...

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