William Wordsworth Questions and Answers

William Wordsworth book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the theme and idea of William Wordsworth's writing? I need some of his quotations about nature.

Expert Answers info

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In addressing themes of Wordsworth, I think you need to do two things.  The first would be to identify several themes in the Romanticist movement.  Some of these could be:

*  Placing primacy on feelings over rationality

*  Embracing individualism over social conformity

*  Allowing natural beauty to govern individual actions

In all honesty, there are many themes and ideas to Romanticism.  Develop two or three and then you can find them in Wordsworth's writing, quite easily.  For example, if you were to argue the idea of individualism, that each person is uniquely different from a social mold, then you could use the line, "The child is the father of the man."  This implies that no two people are the same, for all of our experiences are different as children, making us uniquely distinctive as adults.  This makes social conformity almost an impossibility because society confirmation seeks to make human beings all the same.

Find your themes and then examine any of his works and the evidence will be abundant for he was so instrumental in the articulation and development of Romanticism.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write857 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Wordworth deals with the question of where the meaning in our life comes from.  He believed that it came from an intimate relationship with nature.  It can be seen in many of his poems.

In "Tinturn Abbey" he writes"


These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:--feelings too 30
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love.

Wordsworth wrote at the beginning of the Romantic
Movement, and one of the things the Romantics were most concerned about what the growth of cities, the commercialization of life, and the growing influence of science which tends to aim at controlling nature rather than realting to it.  Scientific knowledge comes from "tuition," knowledge that is based on work, education, etc.  The Romantics believe that the essential knowledge comes from "intuition," a spontaneous learning built into our nature through the congruence of our "nature" with that of "Nature."

The entire poem, "The World is Too Much With Us" illustrates many of these points.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; (1)
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, (2)
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus (3) rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton (4) blow his wreathed horn.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

subrataray | Student

Wordsworth  claims himself as the worship per of Nature .Certainly the claim is tenable .From his autobiographical poem ,-Tin tern Abbey , we find how his love for Nature under went successive changes .In his early child hood , he like a roe mounted over the hills ,tall rocks , walked through the secluded valleys , enjoyed landscape , etc .Nature was an appetite to him . With his growing manhood he could the still music of humanity .In his advanced age , the dumbness of nature entered into him , and he attained meditative calmness .From this confession of the poet , we can say that the theme of Wordsworth's poem is Nature and reflection of Nature .

The idea is a philosophy ;of peace ,tranquility of mind , service to humanity , etc .The poet professes that Nature never did betray the heart that loves her , she leads man from joy to joy .

Wordsworth , follows Russuae , and believes that so long man is away from nature , he gets corrupted .

Simplicity ,life of fortitude ,acceptance of what nature gives ,find a voice in Wordsworth's writings .A critical view of his poems ,-The Leech -Gatherer ,and  Michael link us to this aspects of writing .

Man and Nature , relation between man and nature , effort of establishing a harmonious relation between the , recur to almost all his poems .

The poems , The Daffodils ,and  The Solitary Reaper , focus on the idea that the recollections of the beauty of Nature return as bliss of solitude in one's dreary intercourse of artificial city- life.Again Wordsworth advocates the use of rustic language as the diction of poetry .This signifies the linguistic communication with Nature .The propagation ,-there is no difference between the language of prose and poetry , is a revulation , that reforms the style of one' thoughts .

Subrata Ray .Uluberia .West Bengal .India .