What is the theme of Wordsworth's poem, "Resolution and Independence?"

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

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As the title suggests, Wordsworth's poem is centered on the subjective empowering itself.  Filled with Romantic imagery, the speaker, presumably Wordsworth, is seemingly at the pitch of prosperity when he comes across a moment in time when he is filled with a sad melancholy.  This existential crisis causes pain in the speaker and he struggles to identify its causes.  To no avail, his rumination is interrupted by this old man who sits on a hill and through conversation, the speaker realizes that this solitary vision is the embodiment of strength, totality, and a sense of complete confidence in self.  The speaker understands, and the theme of the poem, becomes that in times of crisis and doubt, one must find the internal strength, the intestinal fortitude, to endure these moments and overcome them.  The notion of the subjective self being a reservoir of strength is something that is confirmed by the old leech gatherer, and is a lesson that the speaker learns.  The speaker understands that to be a human being involves living with doubt, but also being able to surpass it with a quiet confidence in one's own subjective being.  In this, the theme of the poem is revealed, an affirmation of the subjective in all circumstances.

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