Wordsworth Practices What He Preaches Essay, Research Paper
A. P. English-Hr. 1
22 November 1999
Wordsworth Practices What He Preaches
Though written after ?Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,? Wordsworth?s ?Preface to Lyrical Ballads,? clearly details his writing objectives. In ?Tintern Abbey,? William Wordsworth sought to make poetry understandable to the common reader by simplifying the meanings, organizing his pattern of thoughts in a coherent manner, and using poetical devices sparingly. In the poem, Wordsworth reminisces under a dark sycamore about his experiences and realities, while looking down on the ruins of a temple of God. He expresses his philosophy on these experiences and realities, both past and present, relating God and Nature as one entity. He senses God around him though there is no temple or worshipers, perhaps suggesting that if there were, God would cease to grace the area with His presence. Wordsworth goes on to describe the scenery, how its beauty will serve as ?food for future years,? and how only with the insight of his sister, has he developed a great appreciation for Nature.
Wordsworth goes on to state in his ?Preface? that every poem ?should have a worthy purpose.? In ?Tintern Abbey,? Wordsworth has a variety of purposes, or meanings which he desires to convey, each one of them, worthy in and of themselves. He wants to raise the reader to a new sense of awareness; to let the reader know what Nature is, its affect on us, and that we should live in the moment, with an acute awareness to what is happening around us. He describes God in Nature as ?A motion and a spirit, that impels/All thinking things, all objects of all thought,/And rolls through all things.? Wordsworth expresses Nature?s affect on him as a ?wild secluded scene |that impresses|/Thoughts of more deep seclusion?; these are the feelings of peaceful ecstasy he feels. ?The sounding cataract/Haunted me like a passion…were then to me/An appetite–That time is past?; here he reminds us to hang onto an infantile awareness that brings joy as he describes his own experience.
Though he has expressed a variety of purposes, Wordsworth manages to keep them simplified by the division of the stanzas. In his ?Preface,? he states the importance of ?|following| the fluxes and refluxes of the mind when agitated by the great and simple affections of our nature.? ?Tintern Abbey,? is divided into five stanzas: the first stanza describes the scenery; in the second, Wordsworth says how while meditating about the scenery ??mid the din/Of towns and cities,? he has ?|seen| into the life of things?; the third stanza is an extension of the second, reemphasizing how his recollection of Nature has comforted him; the fourth stanza, Wordsworth reverts to his memory being revived by the present sight; in the fifth stanza, Wordsworth thanks his sister for the insight she has helped him discern. The coherent arrangement of the stanzas help give purpose because they illustrate Wordsworth?s recollections being interrupted by his philosophical tendencies. These tendencies, which he yields to, are an example of an acute awareness of the surroundings, which make him think deeply.
Few blatant devices are used in the poem in Wordsworth’s effort to simplify and make his language; the ?language really used by men.? Wordsworth also states in his ?Preface,? that he wants to convey ?feelings and notions in simple and unliberated expressions.? This is evident in ?Tintern Abbey? because the progression of the stanzas reflects a subject-verb-pronoun form. In addition, to keep things simplified, Wordsworth uses devices like alliteration sparingly, and writes in blank verse. Writing in blank verse gives him the liberty of using the best fitting words to give meaning and helping the reader better comprehend. Though Wordsworth uses ?elaborated expressions,? it is purely for the purpose of getting a point across; when he says that the beauteous forms of Nature ?have not been to me/As a landscape to a blind man?s eye,? he says this in an attempt to get the reader to think about his inner-most thought, feeling, and symbolism. Here, he hopes the reader will reach the conclusion that the ?blind man?s eye? symbolizes the blind man?s spirit, and that Wordsworth?s memory isn?t a product of his faith, and that faith is not guiding his spirit, but a real event with a memory as a by-product.
And so, the simplification of Wordsworth?s poetry made him a poet of the masses who seek some degree of enlightenment. By making his ideas a universal aim all can achieve, and presenting them in a direct manner, instead of enshrouded by obscurity, the meanings of his poems become natural, while nonetheless, being new. The structural organization adds to the understanding by separating the different thoughts. The devices, while few, are insightful, and alert the reader of Wordsworth?s feelings on a certain subject, its importance, and its relevance. In ?Tintern Abbey,? Wordsworth realizes all of his main objectives, while making it a poem, relevant to people of all backgrounds; he reveals his inner-most-thoughts in hope that others may understand him, to better understand themselves.