If William Wordsworth rests on the throne as the King of the Romantic Period, Nutting is a shining exemple of why he should be put on a pedestal. Flirting with the five senses, he seduces the reader into the beautiful backdrop of his lyrical ballad with an extravagant description of the natural setting. Ignoring the conventional devices of figurative language, such as metaphor, Wordsworth manipulates natural language to evoke the images he desires to illustrate his memories. Prosaic analysis of the lines, "[w]here fairy water-breaks do murmur on/For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam" (Wordsworth 33) reveals his talent for turning common language into poetic genius. Wordsworth's sensational description of the stream is heightened through his tight fusion of landscape, symbolism and diction.
The physical structure contributes as much to the tone of the poem as the words themselves. The physical presentation of the poem can be seen as parallel to the course of the stream and similar to the emotional change of the speaker. As the stream is interrupted by "water-breaks," so is the poet's account of his youth by extended hyphens. These extended pauses represent "water-breaks" in the flow of his thoughts. Playing with the constructs of time and space, Wordsworth uses the format of his poem and punctuation to stress certain words and enhance specific scenes. For example, in placing the words "for ever" at the beginning of a new line and then immediately following them with a semi colon, the poet has created a pause and avoided enjambment. In giving the reader a breather, the recess adds to the calmness of nature described by the words. Layout and language are entwined in Wordsworth's...
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...erneath the water's surface, similarly, there is a complexity underlying these two lines, which the reader must try to grasp. The landscape, symbolism and diction tightly condensed into these two lines act as a metonym for the snug prosody of the entire poem. William Wordsworth's lyrical ballad Nutting elicits lucid imagery from "[o]ne of those heavenly days . . ." (3) of the poet in his youth. When looking into Wordsworth's stream, the reader may also see his own childhood in the reflection.
Eds. Keach, William, Carroll Moulton, John Richetti, and Bruce Robbins. Introduction. Adventures in English Literature. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1996.
Wordsworth, William. "Nutting." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 7th Ed. Vol. 2. Eds. M. H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.
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