The World Is Too Much with Us

by William Wordsworth

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The theme, meaning, major points, and structure of William Wordsworth's poem "The World Is Too Much with Us"

Summary:

In "The World Is Too Much with Us," William Wordsworth critiques the materialism and disconnection from nature in industrial society. The poem laments how people prioritize wealth over the natural world, leading to a loss of spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Structured as a sonnet, it emphasizes the poet's yearning for a return to nature and a simpler, more harmonious existence.

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What is the theme of the poem "The World is Too Much With Us"?

In "The World is Too Much With Us," the speaker laments the loss of man's intimate connection to the natural world in the wake of industrialism and a greater desire for worldly success. When Wordsworth uses the term "world," he is not describing the planet but society. In his view, society is obsessed with "[g]etting and spending," commercial endeavors and making as much money as possible. This blinds people to the greater beauty of the world and in a way, strips life of any greater meaning beyond the acquisition of wealth.

The final portion of the poem features the speaker wishing he had lived as a pagan in antiquity because he feels ancient peoples had a better appreciation for nature than modern people do:

... Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Triton and Proteus were sea deities. The speaker is not expressing a desire to worship these old gods or even necessarily speaking out against the dominant Christian religion of his homeland, but he is expressing an appreciation for how the pagans had greater reverence for nature and perhaps saw their lives as something beyond the worldly. Instead of seeing nature as something to be exploited, the pagan as described by Wordsworth feels both in awe of and a part of nature, giving his life greater spiritual meaning beyond money.

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What is the theme of the poem "The World is Too Much With Us"?

In "The World Is Too Much With Us" Wordsworth laments the way in which modern-day commercial society has eaten away at man's soul, turning him into little more than a consumer of goods obsessed with "getting and spending".

As a Romantic poet, Wordsworth believes that creation is an organic whole in which man and nature are joined together as one. In becoming more worldly, in allowing our whole identities to be determined by the values of industrial capitalism, we are separating ourselves from what we really are. Instead of the headlong pursuit of wealth and goods, we should concern ourselves with remaining in close communication with nature, living in harmony with our natural surroundings.

Yet modern man has become out of tune with nature, and Wordsworth is keen for him to reestablish that broken connection, to revitalize his corrupted soul, even if it means adopting a kind of pagan mindset.

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What is the theme of the poem "The World is Too Much With Us"?

The theme of "The World Is Too Much with Us" is that humankind has forsaken the soul and individuality for money and material gain. By rejecting a connection to nature, which enriches the soul, people have lost sight of the true meaning and purpose of human existence.

A great lover of nature, William Wordsworth often wrote his poetry while out on walks in the countryside, where it was peaceful and he could enjoy the loveliness of the world. He chose the sonnet form for this poem because of its order and discipline and rhetorical force, feeling that this form was appropriate to express his strong "moral sentiment":

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!

In these lines Wordsworth denounces the materialism that he has observed in people after the Industrial Revolution: "For this, for everything, we are out of tune." This belief in materialism, Wordsworth feels, prevents people from realizing the true meaning and purpose of life.

The speaker of this poem declares that he would rather be a pagan who worships nature in "a creed outworn" than be someone who embraces a spiritually empty materialism. At least as a pagan, there is joy and spiritual enrichment in the communion with the beauty and life of the world:

Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn:
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn

Like so many of his poems, "The World Is Too Much with Us" directs his readers to what Wordsworth called "a moral sentiment," as he perceives his time as a decadent era.

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What is the theme of the poem "The World is Too Much With Us"?

The theme of illusion versus reality is a dominant one in "The World is Too Much with Us."

In the poem, Wordsworth reminds the reader that illusion should not be interpreted as reality.  For example, when he writes, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—," it is a reminder that there is something more profound in our daily lives.  Wordsworth suggests that one of the problems in the modern setting is the "sordid boon!" which mistakes illusion for reality. Wordsworth's poem is a call to change the way in which we view our lives.

He sees existence's illusion as preventing a truer sight from emerging.  When Wordsworth writes of "glimpses" that make him feel less "forlorn," they consist of transcendent visions.  These sights are of "Proteus rising from the sea;" and "old Triton blow his wreathèd horn."  Wordsworth insists that visions of Greek gods are more real than modern reality.

For Wordsworth, the illusion lies in our belief that our daily routines constitute reality.  He argues that what should be seen as authentic requires a different type of sight.  This inward and reflective vision is critical to understanding the world and our place in it.  Wordsworth suggests that we can be happier if we see a truer form of reality in our lives.

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What is theme of "The World Too Much With Us"?

The main theme of this poem is the deadening effect of materialism in the modern world, as encapsulated in the line: "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." The poet laments this state of affairs and longs to turn his face away from what he sees as the soulless materialism of his time, to an earlier time when people were more attuned to nature and all its wonders and beauties. To this end, indeed, he declares himself as a kind of pagan, worshiping nature in all its forms.  He ascribes to nature a vibrant spirit and life that is lacking in the modern world, the world of cities and commerce. His feeling of awe and reverence for nature can be labelled pantheism.

The poet is aware that his ideals might appear old-fashioned ("a creed outworn") but that doesn't bother him. Clearly he is deeply depressed and dissatisfied with contemporary life and longs for the comfort that the mystical beliefs of an earlier time would afford him, and make him "less forlorn." He wants to re-discover the sense of wonder in nature that he thinks people used to have, as seen in his invocation of the old nature deities, the sea-gods Proteus and Triton. 

In Wordsworth's time - that is to say, the last decades of the eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth -  there was an ever-increasing tendency to explain natural phenomena in practical, scientific terms. For Wordsworth and others of a similar romantic temperament, this meant the loss of a sense of wonder and enchantment about the world - an enchantment which he himself wanted to retain at all costs.

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What is theme of "The World Too Much With Us"?

The poem you are referring to was written by William Wordsworth in 1807.  Its main theme is the idea that we modern people have become disconnectd and alienated from the world of nature.  He argues that we would be happier if we were more connected to that world.

Wordsworth claims that we are too interested in "getting and spending" and that being obsessed with those things, we have "given our hearts away."

He thinks that it would be better to be a pagan than a modern person because at least then he could be more in tune with nature.

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What are the themes of  "The World is Too Much with Us"?

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;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Wordsworth's main point in this poem is that we have gotten too busy to enjoy nature...we grow away from our roots and nature which renews us when we give way to our busy lives.  Today, with the internet, cell phones, texting, laptop computers, and other technology, we are growing even further from nature.  We don't take time to "smell the roses" or just "be" amidst trees, grass, and flowing brooks. We build parking lots over fields once full of fragrant flowers, and bulldoze trees in order to build high-rise apartments.  Wordsworth's message is still clear:  we need to find our center and balance our spiritual and emotional selves with our world of work and family.

Good Luck!

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What is the universal theme of "The World Is Too Much With Us"?  

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!

The universal theme of the poem ought to be obvious, since Wordsworth is speaking for most of us. It is not about love of nature but about the love of material things that infects us all. We become so preoccupied with consumerism that we forget about the beauty around us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher who once had the pleasure of meeting Wordsworth in person on his trip to England, wrote: "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind." This was way back at the beginning of the nineteenth century when consumerism could hardly have been running rampant, as it is today, because there weren't so many things to consume. That was fortunate because it was a whole lot harder to earn money.

Wordsworth may have become a nature poet by necessity. It was much cheaper living in the country than in the city, and a man who earned his living by writing could live almost anywhere. According to the eNotes Study Guide (see reference link below), Wordsworth wrote his sonnet "The World Is Too Much With Us" in 1807. He was the sole support of his sister Dorothy and got married to a childhood sweetheart named Mary, thus becoming responsible for the support of three adults including himself. Then he and Mary began having children, as married couples will, and had a child in 1803, another in 1804, and another in 1806.

So Wordsworth, who was trying to make a living writing poetry, had a small cottage housing three adults and three babies, two of whom were suffering from whooping cough at about the time he began to feel that the world is too much with us. It is also well known that he fathered a daughter out of wedlock while he was in France in his youth and that he felt obliged to send the French mother child-support payments until that daughter had grown up.

Characteristically, Wordsworth did not say that the world was too much with him but that it was too much with all of us. Which it is. Wordsworth was a sententious poet. If he hadn't lost his religious faith, he might have become a minister and preached sermons.

He was noted for his practice of taking long walks and composing his poetry in his head. (A servant told a visitor, "His study is out of doors.) He must have needed to get away from a cottage where he couldn't have even had a room to himself--and where at least two of his children had whooping cough!

In his sonnet he is all alone on a promontory overlooking the ocean. It must have been a relief to get away from that cottage and all those dependents who would naturally keep reminding him of his financial obligations. His was the problem that faces most people who aspire to be artists: They have to pay the rent and buy food and clothing; and if they get married they have to provide for their children. It is easy enough for a single person to live simply and devote himself or herself to artistic endeavors, but it is a lonely life and leads many of them to get married, as it did William Wordsworth.

In composing his sonnet, Wordsworth was revealing his growing realization that not just he himself was afflicted with real-life problems involving "getting and spending" but that these problems were common to nearly everybody. He doesn't offer any solution--only a wish (which perhaps we have all had) that he could live like a pagan (or perhaps like Robinson Crusoe).

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What is the theme of the poem "The World Is Too Much with Us, Late and Soon?"

One important theme in this poem is the movement of the human race away from its spiritual history and towards modern living. The author sees modern ideas as more shallow, despite their intellectual superiority; he yearns for the more exciting life of "pagans" and their richly-drawn philosophies and superstitions. In the first half, the author describes how people are no longer aware of the sheer beauty of the natural world:

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!
The 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;
(Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much with Us, Late and Soon," bartleby.com)

The author notices that all of nature is now classified and placed under Science; this is not a bad thing, but it removes much of the innate joy and beauty in life and relegates it to simple physical properties. While these can be beautiful, understanding them does not share the same visceral reaction as viewing them in their raw states. For example, the "sea that lays bare its bosom to the moon" is more beautiful in its image and the feelings it evokes, rather than thinking about the speed of reflected moonlight, tidal effects, convection and wave motions, etc. In this manner, the author shows his wish that some of the simpler emotions could still exist; he calls on the old gods of legend to show how natural forces used to be attributed to spiritual means, and how much more aesthetically impressive they were during that time.

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

This is a difficult question. It seems doubtful that there would be othre poems that carry the same theme as Wordsworth's "The World Is Too Much with Us." In this poem, Wordsworth laments the disconnection of humanity from the beauties and strength of the natural world. But more than this, he blames those who embrace the Christian faith of becoming callous and causing this disconnect between humanity and nature. Yet, Wordsworth takes this one step further and denounces the callousness and claims he prefers paganism to what was for him callous Christianity, since pagans at least worship nature and recognize divine beings as in-dwelling elements of nature. A short expression of this theme might be: nature re-found in paganism versus nature disregarded in Christianity. I don't recall any other poems that make such claims and assertions as Wordsworth's thematic call to paganism makes:

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;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

One poem written by another Romantic period poet, however, does laud what he sees of paganism, though for another reason and in another scenario. John Keats wrote "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and praised the Grecian pagan scene he saw painted thereon. Keats was discussing the figures frozen in time on their way to a sacrifice to bless a nuptial that will never be consummated. Indirectly, he is rejoicing in the paganism that is represented by the pictured sacrificial ceremony. While admiring this pagan scene, Keats is actually commenting on the irony of the joyful scene because these frozen pagan figures "know" (i.e., represent) only that "'Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.'" The irony is that while this is all they do "know," in their frozen unconsummated state it is also all they need to know.

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty'--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

So while Wordsworth would rather be a pagan, Keats seem content to leave his pagans in an innocent undisturbed state because, by inference, he needs to know much more than they do.

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Where is the theme of choice in "The World is Too Much with Us"?

Wordsworth himself seems to be making a choice between the materialism and consumerism he describes in the beginning lines and a simple life devoted to the contemplation of nature. He says he would rather be a pagan and believe in mythological deities like Proteus and Triton than to be like the masses of humanity who are obsessed with "getting and spending" while leading unnatural lives in urban environments where everything has to be bought and paid for. He seems to be implying that most people do not realize they have a choice or that they might make a choice. They have already given their hearts away. They have become dehumanized.

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Where is the theme of choice in "The World is Too Much with Us"?

I think that the theme of choice is indeed part of Wordsworth's poem. One approach to this would be seen in line 4 when Wordsworth indicates that "We have given our hearts away."  For Wordsworth, the condition of being in the modern setting is one in which individuals have lost sight of that which is important.  This loss of focus is a choice for Wordsworth.  Individuals have chosen to lose sight of what is important.   Spiritual notions of nonconformity and the pursuit of beauty in its most natural conditions are a part of this.  For Wordsworth, being able to revel in this is of vital importance.  It is a choice that individuals have made and to have made the wrong choice is precisely the reason why "The World is Too Much With Us."  The "glimpses" that make us "less forlorn" reside in the nature of our choices.  For Wordsworth, the Romantic poet's purpose is to make aware to the audience the desires of the subjective in hoping that others will share in it and act appropriately.  In this, Wordsworth believes that while our choices have placed individuals in the position they are in, there are choices that can be made to embrace that which is "the good, the true, and the beautiful."

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What does Wordsworth mean by "the world" in the first line of "The World Is Too Much with Us"?

Wordsworth is thinking of the materialistic and self-centered attitudes and activities of people in the "world" that he refers to in the opening of his poem. He is making the point that people miss too much because they are obsessed with "getting and spending."

He is frustrated because people don't understand and appreciate, or even notice, the beauties and glories of nature all around them. "This Sea that bares her soul to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours...It moves us not." Wordsworth sees people as being blind to the wonders all around them because they are concentrating on the wrong things, the things of "the world" instead of the things created by God in "Nature".

At the end of the poem, he announces he would rather be pagan, outside of the relentless driven spirit of "the world," but capable of appreciating the natural wonders around him than to continue in the blind rush surrounding him.

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What are the major points in Wordsworth's sonnet "The world is too much with us"?

William Wordsworth's 1807 sonnet "The world is too much with us" has a typical Romantic period theme priasing nature. It deviates from a focus on nature to lament the nineteenth century preoccupation with material gain. He balmes this preoccupation for one's failure to see the greatness of nature and equates it with giving one's heart away. Through the use of a unique metaphor, he then indirectly likens nature to orchestration by saying, "For this, for everything, we are out of tune."

Wordsworth claims in the final quatrain of his sonnet that he had rather be a "Pagan" taught an "outworn" doctrinal creed than be one of those so preoccupied with accummulating wealth that nature goes unseen. In the couplet, he carries this further and says he'd prefer to stand on a "lee" to watch the sea gods Proteus (a shape changer) and Triton (son of Posseidon and shown as a merman) rise from the sea.

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What is the theme of Wordsworth's poem "The World Is Too Much with Us," and a similar poem?

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 gives the pagans credit for their close attachment to – even their literal worship of – nature.  Perhaps, by offering such homage to God’s creation, they were paradoxically closer to God than are many contemporary Christians, who have lost sight of nature’s power and beauty. To the pagans, nature seemed alive and full of wonders, but modern Europeans have largely lost that sense of the sacredness of nature, of the holiness of the created universe.

One poem that is similar in many ways to Wordsworth’s sonnet is a sonnet written in the sixteenth century by the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Surrey’s poem is in fact a translation of an earlier poem by the Petrarch, the great Italian poet.  In Surrey’s poem, a man feels alienated from nature not because of a preoccupation with money, status, possessions, and social competition (as in Wordsworth’s poem) but because of a preoccupation with physical desire for a woman:

The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings,
With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale;
The nightingale with feathers new she sings,
The turtle to her make hath told her tale.
Summer is come, for every spray now springs,
The hart hath hung his old head on the pale,
The buck in brake his winter coat he flings,
The fishes float with new repaired scale,
The adder all her slough away she slings,
The swift swallow pursueth the flyës smale,
The busy bee her honey now she mings--
Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale.
And thus I see, among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.

In this poem as in Wordsworth’s, man is out of synch with the rest of God’s creation, although the worldly attachment here differs from the worldly attachment Wordsworth presents.

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What does the phrase "The world is too much with us" mean in Wordsworth's poem?

When Wordsworth says that "The world is too much with us," he is setting "the world" in opposition to to other sources of value, which he regards as more meaningful. Although Wordsworth's religious views were unusual, he had a sufficiently Christian attitude to see "the world" as a contrast to the church, the soul, philosophy, the contemplative life, and spiritual values in general, as well as a peaceful appreciation of nature. This is why he refers to "Getting and spending" in the following line. The acquisition of money and property is the chief preoccupation of "the world." The second line, therefore, is an explanation of the first. The chief reason that we are harmed by the world being too much with us is that we waste our time (and our powers) grasping at material things.

Worldliness sets us "out of tune" with the physical world, which is also a world of things. These, however, are things we cannot buy, but must learn to appreciate and enjoy. Wordsworth's reference to "A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn" suggests that we once had this ability to live in harmony with the earth, but we have lost it in the quest for money and status. We have lost the world through worldliness, and the only way to get it back again is to return to the simple joy in nature that our acquisitiveness has led us to forget.

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What does the phrase "The world is too much with us" mean in Wordsworth's poem?

That opening line has been interpreted several ways, but I think the meaning hinges on the context of the second line.

"The world is too much with us" means that we humans have become much too absorbed in the materialistic workings of our societies. "The world" stands in opposition to the idea of "Nature" (interestingly capitalized in this poem where world is not, showing the greater importance of the natural world). Mankind has power but wastes it in getting and spending, or earning money just for the sake of purchasing powera cycle mankind is willing to repeat over and over again at the expense of more worthy efforts such as noticing the sea, the wind, and flowers. Because of humanity's focus on consumerism, we "have given our hearts away" and simply don't have the emotional reserve left to appreciate the most beautiful parts of life. The natural world which surrounds us "moves us not" because we are so focused on acquiring more, spending more, and earning more.

This line reflects a deep characteristic of Romantic poetry, and Wordsworth is considered one of the most significant Romantic poets. Poetry of this period is characterized by an appreciation of nature and a protest against the cold, impersonal world of industrialization that was spreading during this era. In this opening line, the speaker echoes these same sentiments: We humans need to separate ourselves from the fast-paced cycle of consumerism.

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What does the phrase "The world is too much with us" mean in Wordsworth's poem?

The opening line of the poem states that "the world is too much with us." It is followed by the line "getting and spending we lay waste our powers." The second line helps illuminate the first. By "world," Wordsworth means not the entire world, but what the French call "le monde": society, the social world, and the hectic world of business and commerce. That world, the opening line is saying, consumes too much of our time and energy.

Because of our focus on the fast-paced, materialistic world, we lose touch with nature, the poem says. We have "given our hearts" away to commerce. This tendency to live in the world's whirl also impacts our imagination. Not only do we fail to notice nature, we also don't see the spirituality inherent in nature. Therefore, the speaker says, he'd rather be a pagan Greek, imagining gods like Proteus and Triton rising out of the sea, than be caught in the sordid world of getting money and spending it.

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What does the phrase "The world is too much with us" mean in Wordsworth's poem?

"The world is too much with us" can be interpreted as meaning that people have become too concerned with worldly, material things and are now unconcerned with the natural world.

The renowned social psychologist and humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm wrote in 1955,

We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.

Fromm's words echo the meaning of the first line of Wordsworth, a Romantic poet who stressed the importance of emotion and connection to Nature. In fact, Romanticism meant a return to nature and an escape from the contamination of modern civilization. Like other Romantics, Wordsworth was concerned that people were becoming materialistic during his time. Industrialization was occurring, thus causing people to "give their hearts away." In this poem, then, since their only connection to life is through consumption of the "world of things," people have become "out of tune" with the beauty of the natural world that even the "Pagan suckled in a creed outworn" knew how to appreciate.

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Describe the structure of the poem "The World Is Too Much with Us".

“The World Is Too Much with Us” is an Italian sonnet. These sonnets are also termed Petrarchan sonnets.

Ensure you understand the format of a typical Italian sonnet. As with other sonnets, it consists of fourteen lines. The first fourteen lines form a thematic unit known as the octave. Generally, the octave introduces the topic explored in the poem by means of a statement, question, argument, or description. The last six lines of the poem are known as the sestet. A change occurs between the octave and sestet. The sestet will focus on an answer or alternative way of examining the statement, argument, or description from the octave. The point in the poem where the change occurs between the octave and sestet is known as the volta.

Wordsworth’s poem follows the structure of an Italian sonnet. The first eight lines focus on Wordsworth’s lament that humanity is too disconnected from nature. This is introduced in the first line, “The world is too much with us,” and continues thematically till the middle of line 9: “It moves us not.” In this octave, he describes how humanity is focused too much on the “world” and civilization. This causes the disconnect between humans and all the beautiful natural and spiritual images that are elaborated on in the octave.

The volta, or turning point, is shifted to the middle of line 9. It is a significant shift which is marked by a dash, emotive interjection, and an exclamation mark. After this, lines 9 through 14 focus on the speaker’s response to the problem in the octave. The sestet suggests that he would rather remove himself from civilization and that he yearns for a life in the past where humanity was more connected to the natural and spiritual world. Thus, the octave presents the problem, and the sestet presents the speaker’s response to the problem.

Sonnets also make use of a particular meter or rhythm in each line. In this case, the sonnet structure includes the use of iambic pentameter. This means there are five units per line. Each unit is called an iamb and consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. This poem does, however, have some lines which deviate from this rhythm. This could be seen to support the speaker’s claim that humanity is no longer in rhythm with nature.

Sonnets have a particular rhyme scheme. The rhyme of the octave is abbaabba, and the rhyme of the sestet is cdcdcd.

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What is the theme of "The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth?

In this poem, Wordsworth laments how we are completely out of touch with Nature and her great beauty and power.  We are so caught up in our own world, our own concerns, our own selfish pursuits, to notice anything about our divinity or the beauty that exists around us.  This is a major theme of a lot of his poetry; I have provided links to other poems below, so that you can see the common thread throughout them all.

Specifically, in this poem Wordsworth says that we are too concerned with money, that in "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers".  We could be so in tune with ourselves, be so much more happy and powerful if we weren't so caught up in getting and spending money.  We are so caught up in it that "We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon"; our hearts are not ours anymore, a horrible fate.  He describes some beautiful scenes of nature but how "For this, for everything, we are out of tune", we cannot appreciate it.  He ends by saying that he would rather, even, be part of a pagan religion that worshipped the earth, or alive when the greek gods ruled the earth in conjunction with nature than to be left natureless and wrapped up in ourselves as we are now.

I hope that helps!

It moves us not
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What is the theme of "The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth?

The "world" in this poem is presented by Wordsworth in overwhelmingly negative terms. His central argument in this poem is that we have given ourselves over to the world to such a degree that we have made a "sordid boon," actually unwittingly giving "our hearts away" as we pursue the world--the material world of possessions and wealth--instead of focussing on our souls and on our relationship with Nature. Wordsworth goes on to argue that by devoting ourselves to "getting and spending" alone and not our souls and Nature we actually "lay waste our powers" and have made ourselves "out of tune" with Nature and its glories that are capable of restoring and nourishing our soul:

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.

By giving ourselves over to the world we have dulled and sensitised ourselves to the beauty and majesty of nature, being not moved by the natural wonders that we can see. Wordsworth thus argues that we need to return to Nature and re-kindle our respect and admiration for it by separating ourselves from the malign and profoundly damaging influence of the "world."

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What is the theme of "The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth?

Essentially, those elements in the world that create the feeling of alienation and repression of individual identity are those forces that "are too much with us."  Wordsworth links this with the denial of the natural forces that are present in the world.  The industrialized world, the urban setting, and the conditions that prevent a full embrace of the natural world are the negative aspects of the world that Wordsworth seeks to avoid.  For example, The sea and the winds that might liberate one from world-weariness are depicted as singers or musicians with whose song people “are out of tune.” The reader is then startled by the poet’s sudden, aggressive “anti-confession”: “Great God! I’d rather be/ A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn.”  From beginning to end, the sonnet is seen as an unrelenting attack on superficiality and conventionality in faith and in human motivation promoted by the fixed contours of “the world.”

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What is the theme of "The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth?

In Wordsworth's sonnet "The World is Too Much With Us," the narrator contrasts a way of living that is close to nature with a way of living that centers on materialism. He calls the materialist way of the world "getting and spending." In that worldly mode, we focus on earning money and buying things. In doing so, the narrator argues, we waste our power, by which he means we waste our most valuable potential as human beings.

The narrator calls the "boon," or wealth-focused working all the time, "sordid."

His point or theme is that we would become better humans if we lived closer to nature, closer to the sea and moon and wind. He mourns the passing of the Greek myths, which represented a time when people had a greater appreciation of the natural world and the divine spark that exists in it.

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In the sonnet "The world is too much with us," what idea is Wordsworth expressing?

Both answers are excellent. I have one small point to add: The effect of misusing our powers, or misdirecting our spiritual and emotional energy, is that we have created a lonely world.

The poet bemoans the spiritual disconnect we have wrought by living worldly lives. As sullymonster has said, we are too focused on materialism to be spiritual. Herin lies a paradox: we are both too immersed in the world (meaning worldy concerns) and too separated from it (meaning we've lost our spiritual connection with nature.

When the narrative persona says he's "rather be a pagan", he's not necessarily saying he wishes to revert to that time or that religion (this is evident in the fact that he calls it a "creed outworn"). What he does want, though, is to recover some of the wonder and awe that the pagans experienced in nature.

He says that were he a pagan, he would see glimpses of the gods (Proteus and Triton) that would make him feel less forlorn. To be forlorn is to feel sad and lost, to feel abandoned and alone. He uses the allusion to the gods to show us we are separated from God (in a poetic, not Christian sense), that everything is wrong (spiritually) with the way we live our lives.

What he's talking about here is the extreme spiritual and emotional isolation he (and we) have created by living worldly lives that are separated from nature. The cost to the individual is to feel forlorn: abandoned, separated, and utterly alone.

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In the sonnet "The world is too much with us," what idea is Wordsworth expressing?

Wordsworth was expressing a feeling often connected with the average citizen in the modern age. "The world is too much with us" - most simply, we are too wrapped up in the concerns of our everyday lives, and have lost sight of what is meaningful. We are "getting and spending", we have "given our hearts away." Wordsworth also accuses humans of "lay[ing] waste to our powers", or misusing the energy we have in the pursuit of materialistic goals.

Nature is personified in this poem, raising its significance. The "Sea" is strong and rebellious, "baring her bosom to the moon." The constrast to the the weak actions of the humans further disparages the humanity and reminds the readers to return to the beauty and importance of nature.

Wordsworth makes it clear that the readers are as much to blame as the poet. "We" and "our" are the subject pronouns used. However, the poet separates himself in the end, espousing a strong desire to become of pagan culture, to worship Nature, and (as we are left to believe) to be happier as a result.

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In the sonnet "The world is too much with us," what idea is Wordsworth expressing?

"In the sonnet "The World Is Too Much with Us" the poet contrasts Nature with the world of materialism and "making it." Because we are insensitive to the richness of Nature, we may be forfeiting our souls. To us there is nothing wonderful or mysterious about the natural world, but ancients who were pagans created a colorful mythology out of their awe of Nature."

Here is the poem, with some unfamiliar words glossed:

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.

(1) Brought up in an outdated religion.
(2) Meadow.

(3) Greek sea god capable of taking many shapes.

(4) Another sea god, often depicted as trumpeting on a shell.

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What is the meaning of "The world is too much with us" by William Wordsworth?

Wordsworth was a foreward thinking, already noting the "revolution" that was happening as industrialization swept through England.  In the late 1700s, the mechanization of many production systems and the new possibilities for trade helped to explode industry.  People flocked to the cities for jobs in factories, knowing that they could make more money and better provide for their families than if they remained in the country.  Rural and agricultural communities were changed forever by this emigration, as were family dynamics.  Businesses and individuals were working longer and harder, and moving a much faster pace than was typical in pastoral England.   

Wordsworth firmly believed that humanity was giving up its soul - and individuality - to the pursuit of money.  "We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"  The hearts became a part of the machinery of industry.  When he says "we are out of tune", he is making a firm criticism of society's behavior.  This is followed up by making what would have been at the time a controversial statement - that he would rather be a pagan (than a Christian) because, at least then, he would have harmony with nature and, thus, with himself.

Wordsworth helps to usher in the Romantic era of literature with this poem, when many more authors will extol the virtues of respecting and "being at one" with nature.

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What is the meaning of "The world is too much with us" by William Wordsworth?

This beautiful poem discusses the separation of man from nature in his quest for more and more material wealth.  The second and third lines really express this theme:

"Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;"

A perfect poem for the upcoming Earth Day, don't you think? :)

Check the link below for more information!  Good luck!

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What are the positive aspects of the world in "The World is Too Much with Us," according to Wordsworth?

William Wordsworth criticizes the modernization of the world and humanity's increasing infatuation with consumption and materialism. The speaker feels that humans have lost touch with nature and are essentially "out of tune" with their natural environment. Wordsworth associates nature with the positive aspects of the world. He illustrates the beauty of the moon reflecting off of the sea and the ceaseless wind blowing throughout the earth. Wordsworth is in awe of nature and feels like the people living in the early 19th century are distancing themselves from their natural environment. Wordsworth imagines living an ideal life as a pagan so that he could view the world, particularly nature, from a different perspective. The speaker comments that he wishes he could view the environment with appreciation as he stands on a "pleasant lea." A "lea" is a meadow which Wordsworth again has positive feelings towards. William Wordsworth essentially views all aspects of nature as being positive features in the world. He is utterly opposed to materialism and believes that humans should appreciate nature and all of its grandeur like they did in the past.

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What are the positive aspects of the world in "The World is Too Much with Us," according to Wordsworth?

Actually the poem gives no positives about the "world" as it is presented in the poem. However, we need to be careful how we define the word to begin with. Wordsworth is using the word to refer to the world of material things or possessions, that, according to him, we have sacrificed our values and our connection to gain. Note how the "world" is described:

The world it too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers

According to Wordsworth, then, pursuit of the "world" alone has caused us to "lay waste our powers" and give ourselves over completely to the material acquisition of things and money. The poem therefore represents a rejection of such pursuits, which, in Wordsworth's opinion, is profoundly negative as it distances us from Nature and makes us "out of tune."

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What are positive and negative aspects of the world according to Wordsworth in "The world is too much with us"?

In Wordsworth's poem, the primary level of focus is to create a vision of how conformity can be emotionally deadening.  The mere title would convey this.  In the opening lines, there is the direct insinuation that formalizing one's own sense of identity to the general population can limit the sensation of experience and emotional frame of reference that would help to define one another.  The "waste" of action in line two and the mourning for "what is ours" in the next one indicates that should one decide to conform and surrender their own individual voice, great loss results.  The subsequent lines help to bring forth a vision of how individual reverence of the natural setting and movement away from a conformist one can help to reveal experiences and epiphanies that can bring meaning to consciousness.

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