The World Is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth

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What is the theme of William Wordsworth's poem "The World Is Too Much with Us," and what other poem can you suggest that shares the same theme ?                          ...

What is the theme of William Wordsworth's poem "The World Is Too Much with Us," and what other poem can you suggest that shares the same theme ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Verdie Cremin eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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William Wordsworth’s poem beginning “The world is too much with us” laments the alienation of human beings from the beauties and power of nature. Although the poem opens by stressing that humans are involved in the “world,” that word in this context refers to the world that humans have created for themselves – the artificial environment of civilization, especially cities, an environment that cuts us off from nature as God created it. The “world” Wordsworth implicitly condemns is a “world” in which making money and spending money are crucial values (2). Ironically, however, the more money we try to accumulate, and the more we spend our time accumulating money, the more “we lay waste our powers” (2). Our efforts to acquire and display wealthy rob us of the kind of mental and spiritual powers that should matter most, so that

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! (3-4)

Even when we are able to literally view nature (as line 3 suggests), we feel cut off from it.  It no longer has the power to stir and inspire us. In exchange for money, we lose our souls, at least in a metaphorical sense. We make a Faustian bargain, sacrificing the joy of feeling part of nature in order to hoard up and display material possessions.

Nature, of course, remains constant to itself; its beauties (5) and powers (6) remain to be appreciated, even if we fail to appreciate them (8). We are figuratively out of harmony with the rest of creation and therefore also, in important ways, out of harmony with the Creator.  It is, in fact, that creator to whom the speaker of the poem now appeals (9). Although admitting that paganism is a thing of the past, the speaker at least...

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