The World Is Too Much with Us

by William Wordsworth

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In "The World is Too Much with Us," what are the positive aspects of the world according to Wordsworth?

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William Wordsworth criticizes the modernization of the world and humanity's increasing infatuation with consumption and materialism. The speaker feels that humans have lost touch with nature and are essentially "out of tune" with their natural environment. Wordsworth associates nature with the positive aspects of the world. He illustrates the beauty of the moon reflecting off of the sea and the ceaseless wind blowing throughout the earth. Wordsworth is in awe of nature and feels like the people living in the early 19th century are distancing themselves from their natural environment. Wordsworth imagines living an ideal life as a pagan so that he could view the world, particularly nature, from a different perspective. The speaker comments that he wishes he could view the environment with appreciation as he stands on a "pleasant lea." A "lea" is a meadow which Wordsworth again has positive feelings towards. William Wordsworth essentially views all aspects of nature as being positive features in the world. He is utterly opposed to materialism and believes that humans should appreciate nature and all of its grandeur like they did in the past.

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Actually the poem gives no positives about the "world" as it is presented in the poem. However, we need to be careful how we define the word to begin with. Wordsworth is using the word to refer to the world of material things or possessions, that, according to him, we have sacrificed our values and our connection to gain. Note how the "world" is described:

The world it too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers

According to Wordsworth, then, pursuit of the "world" alone has caused us to "lay waste our powers" and give ourselves over completely to the material acquisition of things and money. The poem therefore represents a rejection of such pursuits, which, in Wordsworth's opinion, is profoundly negative as it distances us from Nature and makes us "out of tune."

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