Paper 2: Poetry
The Importance of Appreciation and Involvement in the Natural World around Us
Two poets from two different centuries address a particular theme with two very distinct perceptions. “The World Is Too Much with Us,” by William Wordsworth of the 18th century, and “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” by Walt Whitman of the 19th century, both address the importance of appreciation and involvement in the natural world around us. Although essential characteristics such as tone, structure, literary approach and language differ in each poem, both poets seem portray the same unambiguous theme.
The romantic era took place during the 18th century. Major characteristics of the romantic era such as intuition over intellect, rural over urban, and solitude over society are evident in William Wordsworth’s poem, “The World Is Too Much with Us.” He addresses the need to be more in touch with society as a passionate cry for help. This poem can be seen as a warning to mankind because of the dramatic tone in which the poem is written in. Wordsworth complains about the lack of compassion for the natural world around us. Mankind is too concerned with earning and spending money, and accumulating things that we feel we can own, that we ignore the simple beauty of the shining moon over the ocean and “The winds that will be howling at all hours” (497). In his effort to try and convince mankind that we are going in the wrong direction, William Wordsworth uses descriptive comparisons to an outdated religion:
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. (497)
Even though... [continues]
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