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How does Wordsworth poetry reflect the still, sad music of humanity?

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azbinte | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted January 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM via web

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How does Wordsworth poetry reflect the still, sad music of humanity?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:11 PM (Answer #1)

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An approach that can be taken in answering the question is to bring out the sense of longing that is evident in so many of Wordsworth's poems.  In its most fundamental form, Wordsworth's poems ache to bring out a condition of being in the world that is not yet realized.  His primary purpose in writing was to bring about a way of viewing the world that was not fully shared.  Romanticism was steeped in articulating a world of what can or what should be in stark contrast to what is.  It is in this where I think that one can see Wordsworth's poems as embodying the tune of "still, sad music in humanity."  In his poems exist a yearning of what can be and what is not present.  This condition is what forms the "still, sad music."  In poems like "The Solitary Reaper," the condition of being is that the speaker cannot fully understand the song the woman is singing and there exists a fragmented sense of being between the speaker and immersing himself in the world of the solitary reaper.  In "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," the condition of freedom that the daffodils represents is what the speaker hopes to be, implying that he is not.  In "The World is Too Much With Us," there is a hope to escape the condition of what is into a world of what can be or should be, but is inextricably trapped by what is.  In these poems, one sees that the condition of being in what is represents "the still, sad music" of humanity wishing to be something more than  it always is.

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