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The World Is Too Much with Us - Poem by William Wordsworth

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Poems such as "The World is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth and "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman describe a specific view of the world. It is clear that Wordsworth and Whitman both approach the common theme of appreciating what one has, whether it be the poet or people in general. Wordsworth and Whitman both approach these themes from different aspects. How does each poet express their view of people living on a day to day basis? How do these two poems differ? How are these poems alike?

"The World is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth is one of many sonnets written by Wordsworth in the 1800's. This poem focuses on the fact that people should appreciate nature more so that they can become more in touch with their spiritual side. This is emphasized in the first line, where Wordsworth says, "The world is too much with us; late and soon." (1) He believes that humans are losing their spirituality because they are not connected to nature. Wordsworth points out that people don't see the true beauty of things. In the second line, he says "[...] we lay waste our powers: / Little we see in nature that is ours;" (2-3) At this moment, we see that Wordsworth wants people to make more use of themselves. We also see that Wordsworth believes they can accomplish so much more in life if they could just learn to appreciate nature. It may even appear that he thinks humans are lazy because he says, "we lay waste our powers". (2) Wordsworth tells the reader that everything in nature, such as the sea and the winds, are gathered up in a powerful connection with which humanity is "out of tune". (8) He even goes on to say, "It moves us not [...]", meaning we don't appreciate any of this. (9) In the end of this poem, Wordsworth says, "[...] 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;" (10-12) This line shows that at least if he were a pagan, he wouldn't have to see things that make him unhappy.

"I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman was written during the 1800s. In this poem, America is imagined as a song that can be heard. Through the voice of what he views as America, the poet hears "the varied carols" of different people doing their day to day jobs.(1) Whitman illustrates this when he says, "Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;" (2) These are things that people do every day, such as "The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat", or "The wood-cutter's song" is America singing "the varied carols". (5, 7, 1)) The singing process takes place in contrast with the positions each person assumes. Even though, all the different tasks come together to make one song, they do possess their own individuality. He brings together people from all aspects of life to illustrate the diversity of America whether it be the carpenter, the mechanic, the mason, the wife, etc. After all America is made up of people from all over the world. Through this line where he says, "The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck," Whitman demonstrates the different classes of America. (5) The upper class where people such as the boatman own his own boat and the deck-man who stands for the labor class.

These two poems written by Walt



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