The World Is Too Much with Us Essay

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Joshua Dunegan
AP English Literature and Composition
Ms. Dale 4
17 April 2012
1The world is too much with us; late and soon,A
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;B
Little we see in Nature that is ours;B
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!A
5This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;A
The winds that will be howling at all hours,B
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,B
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;A
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather beC
10A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;D
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,C
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;D
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;C
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.D

-“The World is Too Much With Us”, William Wordsworth

Joshua Dunegan
AP English Literature and Composition
Ms. Dale 4
17 April 2012
The Struggle of Hypocritical Truth
In Wordsworth’s Petrarchan sonnet “The World is Too Much With Us”, the stylistic devices convey a feeling not only of sullen despondence and disparaging affliction but also of solitary anguish and sober bereavement in order to elaborate on the morose nature of the world brought about by materialism. Focus on physical possessions often causes internal conflict of desires of the flesh and soul, leading to skirmishes for control. The insight necessary in such situations often causes further isolation resulting from polarizing positions garnered from wisdom; thus, the conclusion comes through the adamant adherence to appreciated understanding. The usage of specific diction elicits a sense of subjugation regarding the obsessed, corrupt nature of society and its desires. The “world” presents itself obsessed with constant “getting and spending” in an attempt to satiate the extreme selfish desires that encompass this pseudo-Christian society. The mercantilistic fixation, which personifies culture, clashes with typical Christian views of charity and altruism while causing the blind adherence to the philosophy. Such words also imply a sense of temporary satisfaction due to the constant necessity of the actions; thus, this ephemeral nature leaves much to be desired and conflicts with natural tendencies. These ideals seem reminiscent of the theory of mob mentality, which states that an individual often ceases to act of their own desire and behaves in accordance with the mob based off selfish tendencies; similarly, selfish desires permeate civilization despite the innate desire to act in accordance with self. “Powers” of the heart, mind, and soul originate innately and can only be given away by choice, yet sadly theses abilities are often “lay[ed] [to] waste” in pursuit of falsely presumed items of higher eternal significance. In fact, the deceptive assumption that nature provides a distraction from imperative efforts swindles the believer from the one item that grants truth regarding the universe. Harshness in the word “waste” indicates the gravity of the loss and emphasizes the necessity of returning to the natural paradigm of brotherhood. Suffrage represents a key component of American democracy, yet many do not understand the importance of participation in politics while simultaneously convincing themselves that their vote doesn’t matter; the betrayal of natural powers similarly harms society through duplicity regarding the necessity of staying true to order and belief. Consequently, specific word choice illuminates the conflict that selfish desires present to Christian culture. The images produced express a feeling of austerity in order to elaborate on perversion of ideals and focuses in the contiguous culture. Discordant principles form the basis that “everything” currently acts “out of tune” in comparison to subconscious standards. The disregard of understood moralities by the majority lends itself to the creation of isolation for the harbinger of the revelation regarding corruption of culture....
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