William Wordsworth said, “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher” (Brainy Quote). According to the poet, we can gain all the knowledge necessary in life from nature. Wordsworth’s poem, “The World Is Too Much With Us,” can best be interpreted to mean that people have become too wrapped up in worldly things and have lost all appreciation for what nature has to offer.
William Wordsworth was born April 7, 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland in England’s Lake District which is why he is known as one of the “lake poets” of the Romantic Era. He lost his parents at a very young age and lost touch with his sister, Dorothy, because of it. Wordsworth was a very intelligent man who received his education from St. John’s College, Cambridge and later, Durham University and Oxford. Afterward he went on a walking tour in France where he was inspired by the French Revolution. When he returned to England he was reunited with his sister and became friends with another great romantic poet, Coleridge. The two poets met often and eventually wrote Lyrical Ballads (Everett, Biography).
Wordsworth devoted his work to nature and the free flow of emotion which he called the “real language of men” (Fralin, Poetry Analysis). In “The World Is Too Much With Us,” Wordsworth appears to be speaking out against almost everybody during the Industrial Revolution. In an analysis of the poem, Szczepanski states that, “Wordsworth laments that people have come to view nature as a source of material wealth rather than as a good in itself” (Poetry Analysis). He criticizes them for focus more on “getting and spending” (2) and not on a connection with nature. Fralin’s interpretation of the poem is that Wordsworth was standing on the shore and yelling angrily while shaking his fist in the air to emphasize the mistake he feels the people of the world are making (Poetry Analysis).
“The World Is Too Much With Us” is a Petrarchan sonnet. It is 14 lines written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA CDCDCD. The use of iambic pentameter adds to the nostalgic and lamenting tone of the poem. The octave at the beginning seems to merely address the issue that troubles Wordsworth while the sestet is the turn of the poem in which can be interpreted as him lashing out against the world. However, according to Szczepanski, “Wordsworth does not provide a call to arms” (Poetry Analysis). Therefore, the purpose of the poem is to bring to light the disappointment that Wordsworth feels toward the world rather than rally people to fight for an increased connection with nature.
Wordsworth’s use of figurative language to create imagery throughout the poem shows his devotion to the beauty that nature has to offer. He speaks of the sea as if it were a beautiful maiden when he states, “This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,” (5). The personification of the Sea increases the strength of his argument that we as humans have a connection with nature and we need to appreciate...