Could you help me find elements of Romanticism in "Tintern Abbey" and "The Tables Turned" by Wordsworth?

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are a couple of examples to get you started.

Romantic elements in "Tintern Abbey":

In the first stanza, Wordsworth describes an idyllic natural setting and finds comfort and serenity there.  He writes,

"The day is come when I again repose / Here, under this dark sycamore, and view / These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts . . ." (9-11).

Romantic authors use precise detail when describing nature and associate countryside or natural landscapes with happiness, purity, and peace.

In the second stanza, Wordsworth describes the city and his lonely room in a negative light.  Romantic authors believed that the city was a place of moral depravity and corruption; so notice the difference in the poet's wording about the city versus his worshipful attitude toward the natural setting.

Finally, Wordsworth seeks to find moral enlightment in nature and uses words with religious connotations to describe elements of nature--"holier love," "Worshipper of nature," "guardian of my heart," "anchor of my purest thoughts."

See if you can use these same concepts--a longing to escape from the city, a worshipful attitude toward nature, close attention to the details of natural settings, and moral lesson from nature--to analyze "The Tables Turned."

One more note, structurally, Romantic poems follow a strict format.  They usually have a rhyme scheme, a standard meter, and similar if not identical stanza formation.  You can use the structure of Wordsworth poetry as a Romantic element in addition to his themes and morals.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In both poems, Wordsworth's Romanticist tendencies are intensely displayed.  For "Tintern Abbey," the mere title about the poem being composed adjacent to the Wye River reflects the love of nature.  The reverence for nature is a theme of Romanticism.  Additionally, the premise of the poem is a meditation on how time has passed since his last visit to the area and how he has changed.  This is another theme of Romanticism in the idea of using emotions as a way to measure change and maturation within an individual.  In the poem, "The Tables Turned," the opening lines of the speaker to deride the formalizes structure of education helps to enhance the Romantic theme of non-conformity.  The premise of this poem is to enhance the individualized and unique aspects to education of the soul, as opposed to merely the mind.  The overall theme of the poem is a Romantic one, in that formal institutions and structures cannot address the freely driven education of the heart and soul through emotional connection.

amnaumar | Student

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey is a poem by William Wordsworth that has a strong, central theme of romanticism.   Wordsworth was the pioneer poet in the field of literary philosophy which is now called romanticism. This poem reflects a romantic theme in two main ways. First is that throughout the passage of the entirety of the poem, there is a stressed view point upon imagination and remembrance, and most notably lots of emotion involved in the poem. The second way this poem has a romantic theme is that the poet, Wordsworth, describes/exhibits his love of nature through his many revelations and remembering of memories. Continued, this poem shows lots of imagination and therefore romanticism by the way Wordsworth stresses memories. In the beginning of the poem he remembers the abbey from five years ago and he is reliving the memories. Then he describes how he perceives and longs for the same degree of nature in those five years since he has returned. Later in the poem, the author rejoices in the fact that he can fuel his imagination with new memories of this trip. In terms of the application of emotion, and therefore romanticism, Wordsworth uses many personal adjectives to describe nature around him. Rather than dote upon the size of the mountains and the age rings and the disrepair of the abbey, he takes an alternative viewpoint and uses emotions to show his joy for these things. The author is happy and it shows in the poem, this shows the romantic theme. The romantic theme of the poem also applies in a more simplistic manner in the way that the author longs for and enjoys everything about nature around him. As was noted in the previous sentence, the surrounding area makes him happy. In the poem Wordsworth says, he still loves nature, still loves mountains and pastures and woods, for they anchor his purest thoughts and guard the heart and soul of his "moral being."