AD's English Literature : Short Questions from William Wordsworth's 'The World is too Much with Us'

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Short Questions from William Wordsworth's 'The World is too Much with Us'

 

'The World is too Much with Us' by Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. – Great God! 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;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Q. “The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;”..what does the speaker mean by Getting and spending?
Ans: It is humanity's inability to "feel" nature that most concerns the speaker of "The World is too Much with Us," a poem by Wordsworth. The speaker claims that our obsession with "getting and spending" the material worth has made us insensible to the beauties of nature. "Getting and spending" i.e. the consumer culture, has made it impossible for us to appreciate the simple beauties of the world around us. 
 
Q. “Little we see in Nature that is ours;”…explain the line.
Ans: The speaker of "The World is too Much with Us," notes that we have become so immersed in consumerism that we no longer feels any connection to the natural world. 


Q. “This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.”… explain.
Ans: The speaker here means to say that the entire natural world lies so beautiful yet we are not in harmony or unison with nature. Here the sea and the wind stand as representatives for "everything" in the natural world. And the musical instrument stands as a metaphor for humanity; for humanity to be "out of tune" means they are detached from nature. 
 
Q. “ I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;” .. why does the speaker want to be a pagan?
Ans: The speaker complains that people are no longer moved by the nature, and he tells us that he'd rather be a pagan. At least that way he would be able to see something in nature less depressing than the gross consumerism that is at the root of humanity's alienation from nature. "Suckled in a creed outworn." is a metaphor for pagan's relationship to religion and nature. His preference for paganism also reflects a desire for a nature from which mythical creatures might spring. 
 
Q. “Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.” What are Proteus and Triton?
Ans The speaker expresses his desire to be a pagan who are closely related to religion and nature. He says that if he were a pagan he might see Proteus coming out of the ocean or Triton blowing his shell. In Greek mythology, Proteus is a prophetic sea god who could change his shape at will and Triton is a god of the sea, represented as having the tail of a fish and the upper body of a man.


Ardhendu De

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