WHAT, IN YOUR VIEW, IS RADICAL ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND THE POOR IN WORDSWORTH'S POETRY?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wordsworthian poetry is animated with a spirit of transformation from what is to what can be.  In terms of how Wordsworth sees different subjects, he might be asserting that transforming the views of society and self to different lenses can lend itself to a greater sense of appreciation.  His treatment of women and children is radical in this approach because of the empowerment he gives to them.  In poems such as "The Solitary Reaper," the woman represents a harmonious convergence of truth and beauty.  The speaker has little, if any, idea about what is being sung and knows the woman in the field cannot hear him, but he understands her transcendent quality and the importance she holds.  At the same time, Wordsworth is powerfully compelling in his ideas that personal childhood contains realities and truths which can only be faintly held for brief moments as adults.  The idea of "the father is the child of the man" is evident in poems such as "Tintern Abbey."  As a Romantic thinker, Wordsworth was an advocate for individuals to throw off social and collectivizing notions of the good in favor of something more humane and individual.  In this process, the wealth and social stratification brought out about by Industrialization and neoclassicism thought was rejected for a new order where individual voice and experience would be authenticated.