An Analysis of William Wordsworth’s The World Is Too Much With Us: Objective/Formalistic Theory
In the poem “The World Is Too Much With Us”, the writer uses a lot of imagery and figures of speech in his poem to deliver to us the underlying message of the poem. The poem is filled with the author’s passion for nature and his plea towards the society. In the opening line of the poem- “The world is too much with us; late and soon,” the writer shows to us how each man is connected to nature. In the first line, the words which Wordsworth used describes the changes happened. The word late refers to the past generation when people live simply while the word soon refers to what may happen in the future.
We can infer in the poem the imagery used by the writer by the lines -“This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon”. - this line suggests that nature is given to us freely by the heaven. It is evident in the lines -“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!" that the writer is in dismay of man’s action towards nature. He cite out the greed acts man had done just to have the earthly possessions he wants but in-exchange man had destroy the beauty of nature and sold his substancial task to protect his environment.
Wordsworth points out that people’s mentality had been covered by the measure of practicality, in that, mankind had become too much obsessive in making progress abandoning nature by the changes brought by materialism. In the 6th, 7th and 8th line of the poem he emphasizes the changes in our environment (such as pollution) and how mankind destroyed the harmonious relationship between man and nature. The writer is trying to tell us that man have become insensitive to the need and beauty of nature and the vulnerability of nature in the power of man over them in the line “And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;”. It may also signify that the writer wants the people to realize the importance of nature. The 8th line of the poem shows the punishments given to us by God in the form of calamities and disasters, but still amid it all people are still deaf to the cries of nature-“For this, For everything, we are out of tune. It move us not”.
The lines-“Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;” shows the great disgust the writer felt towards his fellowmen. He may felt that he may rather be an uncivilized person without a wholesome belief and intelligence than to be a part of a society where people are destroying nature. In his poem, Wordsworth also made use of figures of speech as what was depicted in the line “we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon”. It is ironic since he made use of the contradicting words such as sordid and boon. The word sordid means morally degraded or selfish while the word boon means something that is useful and beneficial. This gives us the idea that the significance of the 4th line is that human materialism and progress could be beneficial for us as these things gave us pleasure. On the other hand, these things may also bring us pain and destruction. The last four lines shows us the point wherein the writer hopes for humankind to bring back their relationship towards the natural world like how we treat nature before mankind had succumb into industrialization-“So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;” , this line also gives the readers a picture of the Wordsworth standing at a point where he can clearly see the wonderful sites of nature which helps him forget his melancholy for the nature whom people in contemporary societies have gradually destroy. A view he was clearly in-touch with nature. In the 13th and 14th line of the poem, he made use of an allusion using two characters from Greek mythology. The first one was Proteus - is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea" and the other one was Triton- a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the sea. Proteus is known for his capability to transform himself in many shapes. Triton is often described as a God who trumpets on a shell. In his poem, he used the images of sea Gods as messengers of nature. I guess the writer selected sea gods as messengers to represent life or birth. It is because water has always been a symbol of new beginnings and when the sea gods rise from their watery depths to correct the excesses of humanity, a great change will take place. By the allusions used by the writer, what I infer from the last two lines is the plea or message of the writer to the modern era. The writer may not be totally against with the changes bought by industrializations and materialism but what he wanted is that humans should be able to handle variety of changes but not forgetting the gift of life.
The speaker in "The World Is Too Much With Us" could be an environmentalist or someone who also have deep passion for nature. Somehow, by the way the poem is written I think the writer himself is the speaker of the poem. Wordsworth wants people to celebrate the gifts given to us by the Gods amidst of the modern time we have. By the words used by the writer and how the poem was formed, greed, materialism and lack of respect for nature came in my mind.