In "The World is Too Much With Us," is Wordsworth's implication that people who are obsessed with "getting and spending" spiritually "dead?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Wordsworth might suggest that those who are obsessed with "getting and spending" are closer to be spiritually dead.  For Wordsworth, the poem is a desperate call to change what is into what can be or what should be.  Wordsworth has seen enough of the natural view of the world corrupted or tainted with too much of "getting and spending."   This is where he believes human powers are more of a "waste."  The sacrifice of "given our hearts away" for material contingency has contributed to this particular condition.  It is here where I think that Wordsworth would make the argument that those who are driven with the contingency of "getting and spending" are "spiritually" dead.  While Wordsworth does not use his poetry to really condemn anyone, he is strong and passionate enough to suggest that embracing that which prevents individuals from "seeing into the life of things" has to be criticized.  Certainly, one can see him doing this in his poem because it speaks out about the condition of an industrialized world where commerce and money along with its trappings have been embraced over something more transcendent and more applicable.  The idea of wealth being seen as divine and replacing that which is divine is something that Wordsworth seeks to change and within this one can see why his judgment about those obsessed with "getting and spending" is such a strong one.

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