In "The World is Too Much with Us," with what are we out of tune?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This poem is above all a lament at the way that mankind has given himself over to the cold-hearted, mercantile pursuit of possessions and wealth. Wordsworth begins the poem with expressing how sad it is that we insist on getting ourselves caught up in material considerations at the expense of our deeper self or soul ("our hearts"). The main theme of the poem is expressed in line 8:

For this, for everything, we are out of tune...

Pursuit of materialism has made us "out of tune" with Nature and unable to appreciate it beauty, might, power and majesty. In the words of the poem, Nature "moves us not." Wordsworth's feeling is that by sacrificing ourselves in such away we have lost something fundamental and profoundly necessary to live our lives fully and completely. He ends the poem by saying he would rather be a pagan than remain cut off from Nature and the true meaning of life.

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