Is the line "The more things remain the same, the more they change after all," similar to "The Child is the Father of the Man"?"The Child is the father of the Man" is from the peom "MY HEART LEAPS...

Is the line "The more things remain the same, the more they change after all," similar to "The Child is the Father of the Man"?

"The Child is the father of the Man" is from the peom "MY HEART LEAPS UP WHEN I BEHOLD" by William Wordsworth

Asked on by joe12

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akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

I think that there is some level of difference between the two statements.  The first statement reflects that there is little change between situations.  In the final analysis, the believe is that while things may change, their fundamental root is still the same.  I think that Wordsworth is trying to achieve a bit more in his quote of, "The Child is the father of the man."  In this particular setting, as the previous post indicates, there is a striving to achieve what has been forever lost.  The belief that children hold the key to understanding how to perceive the world is a critical theme of Romanticism.  In the philosophy, this is elemental because of the belief that society has become fraught with in-authenticity and actions that are not genuine.   These traits must be replaced with individuals who understand the purity and innocence of childhood.  When this philosophical and psychological exploration is complete, human beings will understand how to perceive truth in the simplest of situations: The setting of a sun, the dancing of a flower, the arrangement of a cloud in the sky.  When it is understood that all of adulthood is a striving to bring back the lucid nature of childhood, then one can understand that "the child is the father of the man."  In this setting, one sees that things change, but they are not the same as much as they are moments where we seek to better understand our present in accordance to the better moments of our past.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The two lines share the quality of being apparent contradictions.  In literary terms, they are paradoxes, statements that appear self-contradictory, but that reveal a kind of truth.  Many writers like to use paradox because it allows them to express the complexity of life by demonstrating how opposing ideas can be both contradictory and true.

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began

So is it now I am a man;

So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!

The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

In this poem, Wordsworth uses his paradox to denote that  the childish wonder can give birth to this same wonder in the man.  As he looks at the sky, the poet retains his childish wonder and awe of Nature's beauty and "piety."

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