Industrial Revolution

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During the industrial revolution of England, by engaging in monotonous work, humans became disconnected with nature. By the nineteenth century, when William Wordsworth wrote the sonnet The world is too much with us, the process of industrialization had transformed a worker’s life, leaving no time or place to enjoy or take part in nature. In his Petrarchan sonnet, Wordsworth criticizes humans for losing their hearts to materialism and longs for a world where nature is divine. In the first four lines, the poet angrily addresses the theme of the sonnet which is that the modern age has lost its connection to nature and to everything meaningful. The words “late and soon” (1) are part of a list that continues in the next line with the phrase “getting and spending” (2). The line break is for the purpose of the structure of the sonnet. Late and soon refer to the fast pace of the industrial age, and they describe how the past and future are included in the poet’s characterization of mankind. “Too” (1) and “soon” (1) have a long vowel “oo” sound since industrialization, and therefore, exploitation of nature, had been occurring for a long time before Wordsworth wrote this sonnet. Wordsworth wanted to express how “soon” (1) this exploitation would become known to others by placing the sharp consonant “n” after the long vowel sound. The caesura in line 1 after the word “us” (1) gives the reader a chance to feel and reflect upon the weight of the world resting on humanity’s shoulders after the poet’s statement that the world is too fragile for humans to handle. Humanity’s “powers” (2) have gone to “waste” (2), which in this context means that they have been used inefficiently. However, other connotations for the word “waste” (2) are things t... ... middle of paper ... the narrator responds to her death, is connected to nature but dies before she can attain her own distinct consciousness away from nature. Lucy is connected to nature and exists in a state between the spiritual and human. However, she represents a state of consciousness and exists within the poem as part of the narrator's consciousness. Nature is being portrayed as something almost devine, just as the mythical Greek gods from The world is too much with us were Wordsworth’s favorable alternative to human exploitation of nature. Nevertheless, there is a difference between one being too connected to nature, as Lucy was, and one being nearly disconnected from nature, as humanity was portrayed in The world is too much with us. The only way to be in harmony with nature is to accept nature for what it is – to not to be overly connected with it, but not to exploit it.

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