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The World Is Too Much with Us

Introduction: “The World Is Too Much with Us, ” Wordsworth emphasizes the modern disconnection from nature. He says that we have lost a sense of the mystery of nature and of its mythic and powerful element as epitomized in classical myths; note the reference to Proteus and Triton. While he does not diagnose exactly why, he stresses that “we are out of tune” (8) with nature, because “The world is too much with us” (1) and we “waste our power” with “Getting and spending” (2). Instead of having a spiritual connection with nature, we treat the world as an instrument, as a route to economic end. While the poem does not directly address industrialization, it epitomizes a Romantic critique of the economic materialism and instrumental rationality that defined industrialization.

Summary of the poem

In his sonnet “The World is Too Much with Us” Wordsworth bemoans the disconnect between the world of nature and the world of human beings. In the first eight lines or the octave, the speaker criticizes his times for being too much caught up in the material world.

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He feels society is “out of tune” with Nature. Men are so preoccupied with worldly affairs that their total concentration is on making and spending money. In the process, they are blind to the pristine glory of nature and to the presence of the divine in Nature. In their relentless pursuit of material wealth, men have given their hearts away in exchange for worldly benefits (sordid boon). In the sestet of the sonnet, the poet declares with passion his preference for the pagan world, which though primitive compared to the materialistic modern world, remained in touch with nature and the mysteries of life. The sonnet follows the Petrarchan model.

Imagery

1.

“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 wreathed horn.”

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These lines create a mental image that makes you see Wordsworth on the beach, shaking his fist in indignation at the abuse of nature, demonstrating how he truly feels.

2.

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Hear: You can sense people’s frustration during the industrial revolution. How people did not like what was going on, and how they shared their opinion of how they feel about the time .
“Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.” You can hear Triton ‘s noise that he’s just blown from the shell of the conch.

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Q. What is the tone and mood of the poem?

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Ans. In William Wordsworth ‘s sonnet, “The World Is So Much With Us,” he expresses his annoyance at the situation he sees in the world. Throughout the poem , the author frequently expresses his frustration over how the world has become out of touch with nature. With his disappointment comes a blunt tone that criticises the Industrial Revolution and the toll it has had on the world.Wordsworth ‘s mood in the entire poem is that of anger and annoyance.

Q. How Does Sound Contribute to the Effect of the Poem

Ans. The poem does rhyme for example moon and boon, however it doesn’t have a specific rhyme scheme. In Line 9 alliteration occurs with the phrase Great God! The Consonant G is repeated twice.
Two examples of cacophony are suckled and howling.
One examples of euphony is pleasant lea.
Sight: “Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;” you can just picture a mythological Greek God rising from the Sea.

Glossary

The world: the busy material world of money and power
too much with us: we care too much about material pursuits
we lay waste our powers: we waste our energies in petty and futile worldly pursuits that we ignore nobler and higher quests
sordid: horrible, disgusting (It is the act of giving away the heart that is sordid)
boon: blessing, gift
sordid boon: Wordsworth views trading our relationship with nature for a lifetime of material gain as a bad bargain
we are out of tune: busy after worldly pursuits, we are not in a position to respond to the true beauty and the gifts of Nature. Nature is no longer an integral part of our lives.
Pagan: here, a follower of an ancient religion (pre-Christian) that worshipped several gods
creed: faith, doctrine or belief
outworn: obsolete, archaic, old suckled in a creed
outworn: nurtured in an outdated/obsolete religion
lea: grassland or meadow.
forlorn: sad, hopeless
Proteus: a sea god in Greek Mythology who could assume a variety of shapes
Triton: Triton is the son of the sea God Neptune; the sound of his conch-shell horn controls the waves.
wreathed: covered with flowers

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