The physical paradox of the poem is that the speaker stands upon a “pleasant lea” wishing that he could appreciate the view more than he does at the moment (l. 11). What holds the speaker back from this appreciation? Is it his religion or lack thereof? In “The Language of Paradox,” Cleanth Brooks relates that “the typical Wordsworth poem is based upon a paradoxical situation” (28). As the speaker stands upon the lea and wishes for a time where he could appreciate nature more, he is actually missing the picture of nature that sits before him. He longs for another time period where he might be forced to respect nature, like the wonders described by Pagans of “Proteus rising from the sea” or “Triton [blowing] his wreathed horn” (ll. 13-14). It is a situational paradox that the speaker stands before nature wishing that he were in a different time so he could appreciate the same scene more than he can in the present moment. Though the speaker spends the entirety of the poem bemoaning the separation of humanity and nature and the lack of
worship of nature, he is actually doing all of the things that he wishes were...
... middle of paper ...
...ry paradox in “The World is Too Much With Us.” He desperately wants to appreciate nature as a Pagan would, yet he is stuck in a world with limiting views on the spirituality within nature.
Paradox is heavy theme in Wordsworth’s “The World is Too Much With Us,” not only in the physical situation of the speaker but spiritually as well. The situational paradox follows the speaker as he stands before nature wishing to find it as admirable as people of a different time would, while the spiritual paradox is his searching for that religious help while not actually inviting spiritual growth within himself. While the situational paradox plays a heavy role in shaping the mindset of the speaker, the spiritual paradox is what shows his inability to appreciate the world around him and that he, too, has been overcome by his place in the world and not the world’s place in him.
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