Ideal Image of Nature in William Wordsworth's The World is Too Much With Us

Ideal Image of Nature in William Wordsworth's The World is Too Much With Us

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Ideal Image of Nature               

The World Is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth represents modern
humanity's lost spiritual connection with nature, in which he believed
could only be preserved in memory.  This poem is a sonnet that through
images and metaphors offers an angry summation of the theme of communion
with nature.  Wordsworth repeats the fatalistic theme of humanities
progress at the cost of preserving nature throughout the sonnet.  The
symbolism created by the images and metaphors represent Wordsworth's
deep passion about the conflict between nature and modern progress.
William Wordsworth was raised amid the mountains in a rustic society
and spent a great deal of his childhood outdoors, in what he would later
remember as a pure communion with nature.  The life style that he led as
a child brought him to the belief that, upon being born, human beings
move from a perfect, idealized realm of nature into the destructive
ambition of adult life (Phillips).  Wordsworth's deep cynicism to the
materialistic ambition of the Industrial Revolution during the early
nineteenth century is evident in this sonnet.  Images and metaphors
alluding to mankind's greed, nature's innocence, and the speaker's
rejection of accepted principles all serve to illustrate the speaker's
passion to save the decadent era of the early 1800s.
The first part, the octave, of "The World Is Too Much with Us" begins
with Wordsworth accusing the modern age of having lost its connection to
nature and everything meaningful:  "Getting and spending, we lay waste
our powers; /Little we see in Nature that is ours; /We have given our
hearts away, a sordid boon" (2-4)!  The idea that Wordsworth is trying
to make clear, is that human beings (adults) are too preoccupied in the
material value of things ("The world┘getting and spending" (1-2)) and
have lost their spiritual connection with Mother Nature (childhood).
"Little we see in Nature that is ours;" (3) Wordsworth is expressing
that nature is not a commodity to be exploited by humans, but should
coexist with humanity, and "We have given our hearts away, a sordid
boon" (4)!  he pronounces that in our materialistic lifestyles, nothing
is meaningful anymore.  He says that even when the sea "bares her bosom
to the moon" (5) and the winds howl, humanity is still out of tune.
These lines (5-7) suggest that nature is helpless and unknown to the
destruction man is doing.  "For this, for everything, we are out of
tune;" (8) proposes that even in the spectacle of a storm, human beings
(adults) look on uncaringly implying that we, humans, don't realize the
damage we are inflicting on helpless nature.

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The final part, the sestet, Wordsworth wishes that he were a pagan (a
heathen) raised according to a different vision of the world, so that,
"standing on this pleasant lea" (11), he might see images of ancient
gods rising from the waves, a sight that would cheer him greatly.  He
wishes he had faith in ancient gods of nature to extract revenge on
people.  Wordsworth imagines "Proteus rising from the sea" (13), and
Triton "blowing his wreathed horn" (14).  His dream of these ancient
gods of the sea would save nature from man.  Wordsworth, in the sestet,
dramatically proposes an impossible personal solution to his problem -
he wishes he could have been born and raised as a pagan, so he could
still see ancient gods in the action of nature and thereby gain
spiritual solace (Phillips).  His thunderous "Great God" (9)!  indicates
the extremity of his wish.
The way in which this poem flows is Wordsworth's idea and view of life
now, and his attempt to grasp his childhood memories of how he would
like to live.  His understanding of life is best stated: as children
grow older, the memory fades, and the magic of nature dies to them.
But, through this poem, he is able to relive everything through his
memories, and the thing that is most important to him, a pure communion
with nature.
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