The World is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth

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The World is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth

In "The World is Too Much with Us," William Wordsworth presents a conflict between nature and humanity. He repeats the title in the first line of the poem, emphasizing his main point that the aspects of everyday living numb us to the emotions evoked by nature. Wordsworth includes himself in his conviction of mankind, using "us" rather than "you." Something that is "too much," is in excess, and therefore tends to cause harm, like the world for us.

The harm that Wordsworth discusses includes "wasting our powers." Obviously he does not see us as incapable, by describing our abilities as "powers." He feels that we waste our passions on "getting and spending" and neglect to notice how nature is being sacrificed for this progress. We have exchanged our hearts for the materialistic progress of mankind. Not only does an artificial system cause an emotional deficit, but it also alienates people from each other in a very subtle fashion. Wordsworth saw this in the people who give their hearts away, which he equates with a "sordid boon." Unlike society, Wordsworth does not see nature as a commodity. The verse, "Little we see in Nature that is ours," shows that coexisting is the relationship envisioned. Nature is given human traits to convey a more personal relationship to people. The verse, "This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon," gives the image of a woman exposed to the heavens. Wordsworth does not see this as shameful but rather honorable. Like the Sea, he wants people to open themselves up to the passions around them; but instead, we are indifferent to the pleas from nature: "it moves us not." He describes us as "out of tune," which means that we are not completely doomed, that there is hope to be reconciled with nature.

In "The Eve of St. Agnes," Porphyro demonstrates the passion that Wordsworth is talking about. Porphyro is surrendering to the desire, "the fire," of his heart; meanwhile the people in Wordsworth's poem "give their hearts away." Nature is proved to be vulnerable to alienation and indifference by the people in Wordsworth's poem; but, for Madeline is it overwhelming desire and longing by Porphyro. Instead of being cautious and holding back, Porphyo also takes a risk in following his burning heart, a quality admired by both Keats and Wordsworth.

The people in Wordsworth's poem, "The World is Too Much with Us," are similar to the speaker in, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
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