What is the connotation of the poem "The Tables Turned," and what are some examples of its poetic devices? It is about the poetic devices.

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tmcquade | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In the poem "The Tables Turned," the author presents a "carpe diem" message about the importance of getting out and enjoying life to the fullest.  Specifically, the author encourages people to leave behind their books (and, by connotation, their work and their overly academic pursuits) so they can experience nature and life at a more personal level - in this way, they can also gain a deeper, more spontaneous kind of wisdom than books can supply. 

The poem's speaker presents many images from nature - the sun, the mountains, the green fields, the singing birds - all as examples of what a person can see if only he closes his books and steps outside.  He urges:

 

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.                       (13-20).

In these lines, Wordsworth uses personification in describing the throstle as a "preacher" and Nature as a "teacher."  This kind of preacher and teacher does not just fill the mind, but the heart and the soul as well.  He also describes Nature as possessing wealth, wisdom, and truth, all of which a person can best experience by seeing and hearing it for himself.

According to the speaker, Nature is the better teacher than books; here, by connotation, the books represent all of our intentional and analytical ponderings and studies of any number of academic, philosophical, and spiritual subjects.  Nature is the better teacher, for, as the poem states:

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
We murder to dissect.                         (21-28)

This is a view very typical of the Romantic poets of this time period.  As stated here, "our meddling intellest" often fails to grasp the true beauty of things.  In seeking too hard to understand, we miss the simple job of BEING, EXPERIENCING, and ENJOYING.  Additionally, these two stanzes use a lot of alliteration with the letter "m," as seen in the words may more, man, moral, meddling, mis-shapes, and murder.

Ending with a call to action, the speaker states:

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;                               
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.                    (29-32)

Again, we see personification here, as the "leaves" of the book are described as "barren," empty of anything to offer, and the heart is is given the ability to "watch" and "receive."

The entire poem is written in an ABAB rhyme scheme, with the first and third lines in iambic tetrameter, and the second and fourth lines in iambic trimeter.

Sources:

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