Poetry and Strange Fits

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William Wordsworth’s poetry embodies the spiritual focus of romantics and their refusal to conform to the literary traditions of the age of reason. The modern “rational” world which Wordsworth came from was becoming increasingly polluted and destructive. It prohibited the imaginative escape of authors and so people like Wordsworth found solace and escape in what was left of nature and their own imaginative poems. Poems like “Strange Fits of Passion have I Known” and “the Solitary reaper” illustrate Wordsworth’s passion for the spiritual and the emotional freedom that nature and the mind offered. Wordsworth utilised traditional poetic techniques such as imagery and symbolism however, he expressed them in unique, passionate ways. Throughout romantic poetry and in particular Wordsworth’s work the beauty of nature provides the ultimate escape. In “Strange fits of passion have I known”, Wordsworth compares Lucy, the love of his life to a rose which elevates the status of nature and signifies its importance. Throughout the poem the moon is a beauteous symbol of nature and when contact is lost with the moon “wayward thoughts” begin to slide and the mind becomes corrupt with thoughts of death. In the “solitary Reaper” use of words with positive connotations such as “field” and “highlands” create the imagery of vast mountainous greenery. Opposed to the modern polluted, disease ridden suburbia, Wordsworth’s poetry conjured up images of superb escape. Wordsworth believed that humans’ innate empathy and nobility of spirit becomes corrupted by artificial social conventions as well as the squalor of modern city life. The “solitary reaper” perpetuates this by highlighting the purity of a woman who lives outside the realms of modern suburbia. Music was highly valued by romantics and Wordsworth uses similes to compare the woman’s voice to cherished romantic icons such as the nightingale and the ocean which symbolises that she has retained the nobility and purity of her...
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