Wordsworth Language vs. Experience
Veronika Abkarian DWC 201 003 20 November 2012 William Wordsworth’s Language vs. Experience William Wordsworth, a major English Romantic poem, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature. This time period consisted of literature that had strong influences on romantic writers.
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The writers’ attitudes were different to the ordinary previous writers. Seventh and Eighteenth century writings were too difficult for the common person to understand. They were uncommon and had awkward and ornate structures.
The following quote, “I have endeavored utterly to reject them [the formalized expressions of 17th and 18th century poetry] as a mechanical device of style” suggests Wordsworth’s view of the relationship between the language of his writing and the subjects, which are expressed throughout his works. He believes that language structure should not have set number of lines, rhyme schemes, or certain patterns of rhythm. Wordsworth wants to write about incidents and situations that occur in everyday life and describe them in language used by the average person, or a plain and empathic language.
In Wordsworth’s belief, literature would no longer be mimetic and reflective but expressive. The readers of his works should use “gaudiness and inane phraseology”. He believes in making an emphasis of nature, not only physically but also human nature. He looks toward talking about humble and rustic life instead of focusing on royalty or the selfishness of having wealth. He believes that a language arising out of repeated experience and regular feelings is more permanent and more philosophical than that of the poets whom use fancy language to show off their writing style.
The principles of Wordsworth pertain to his goal of helping readers understand complex emotional times when they have occurred. The common people are closer to finding the truth, a language closer to real true emotion and experience. Wordsworth feels as though he must address the sensations that are individual to the person at the time, but also bind us together. The relationship of the language he uses when expressing emotions and experience represent feelings in the spirit of the passions of men and are superior to fancy style writing. He is solely a poet for other men, or humanity.
He believes strongly in brotherhood or a common sense of unity among humans. By writing poetry about the common people he emphasized them to be sentimentally equal, which represented his desire for equality amongst all mankind, a typical characteristic in the Romantic age of literature. Wordsworth’s language used in his poetry highlighted much about equality. He did not like to be known as better than those inferior to him. His position as a poet was solely a job to him that placed words full of emotion into the world. No matter lower or upper class, he saw the world as a whole.
Hence why he wrote in the common language and to all types of people. In his preface to “Lyrical Ballads” he explains that he choses these people because they are “being less under the influence of social vanity they convey their feelings and notions in simple and unelaborated expressions. ” Wordsworth states that most poets’ styles of writing are based on an overflow of feelings; although it is similar for him it is quite different. He believes poetry should be a spontaneous overflow of emotion and that our thoughts are representations of our past feelings.
When we reflect on these, we can discover what is truely important to men. One of Wordsworth’s main objectives that is incorporated into his language is aspiring to the ideals of the French Revolution- Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. The emotion must be reflected in tranquility and looked at from a distance, analyzed with intellect and reason as well as felt with passion. The ultimate goal is to help us understand complex emotions which when they occurred were too much for us to articulate. As mentioned above, his poetry carries on themes of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity led Wordsworth and other romantics to romantic claims of nature and imagination. Wordsworth wrote about people, moments, and settings that represent freedom. In Cumberland Beggar, Wordsworth focuses on social classes being blend together. He writes about a beggar, a man of regular stature in society, and how he lives within nature. The beggar is very humble, and the people around him are very generous to him. The beggar is bent over and looks at the ground, this symbolizes a sort of uprising of emotion to the reader.
As the beggar meets people he tends to enhance and bring out the goodness of people, which represents moments of humanity. A scene in this poem is when the boy is riding his bike and they share a sense of gentleness. Seeing the man softens the boy, and he soon realizes that he will be ancient one day. The beggar is poor but rich in experience, gentleness, and wisdom. “No–man is dear to man; the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life When they can know and feel that they have been, Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause, That we have all of us one human heart. ” Old Cumberland Beggar This represents how Wordsworth’s language exemplifies the celebration of equality and freedom, stating that even the lowest among us have so much to offer. He states that even the poorest man give blessings. The most important message from this quote in his poem is “That we have all of us one human heart” because it clearly illustrates Wordsworth’s passion of equality and how poetry should erase boundaries between genders, classes, generations, and supremely, between human beings and the natural world.
Wordsworth believes that spending time in nature is a gift. This is from past experiences of his time spent in nature. In his future he keeps this in mind while he is alone, tired, and frustrated in a busy city. The beauty of his past experiences of nature will help him overcome his obstacles he is faced with in the future. When the beggar dies he is reunified in nature. Although he is alone, he is resting in peace on the green grassy field. Wordsworth’s use of the words raven, ostrich, clouds, sea-horse, and torrents in his poem, The Wandering Jew are examples of imagination and nature.
In Tintern Abbey, the poet visits a church that he attended five years prior. In the poem he measures the differences, which in turn promotes universal thoughts. One who reads this poem is most likely to experience an emotional response to memories. Wordsworth is enjoying the memories but at the same time dealing with a sense of loss. As this is happening, the reader is deeply inside of their selves, trying to figure out the emotions of what they have gained/lost. Wordsworth is sad because it is obvious that he cannot get the time or memories back.
As a whole, we have all experienced this, which binds us all together and makes us equal. Wordsworth is recognized to be one of the most influential poets due to his poetry standing so apart from that of his ancestors. Romantics will celebrate the subject the individual, each has an imagination but each ones’ imagination leads us to different visions. There is emphasis on spiritual awareness, which is accessible to everyone. Our emotions serve as loss and sadness from an earlier stage in our life. Wordsworth’s views on his language and subject matter helped structure the face of modern-day poetry.