This study is set out to analyze the themes and use of imagery of the Romantic period in William Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us” and “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” and William Blake’s “London” and “The Garden of Love”. The purpose is to enlighten readers on the need for the return of man back to nature as the means for correcting a decaying society. The Romantic theory is adopted for the analysis of this study. The result is that the themes and use of imagery is the best in correcting the ills in the society.
TABLE OF CONTENT
TITLE PAGE i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY 3
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY 4
JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY 4
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 5
RESEARCH QUESTIONS 5
LITERATURE REVIEW 8
ANALYSIS OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH’S 21
“I THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US” AND
“I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD”
ANALYSIS OF WILLIAM BLAKE’S 35
“LONDON” AND “THE GARDEN OF LOVE”
FINDINGS, SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 46
Nature is not the ultimate reality, but it has a valuable role to play in the life of man. It is a real and not a deceptive
structure of forms and forces, it displays sublime order and beauty in both action and being. (Wordsworth)
In a society where materialism rules, human beings are bound to explore every means in order to attain these material elements and in doing so, they devote their time and resources thereby having little or no time to appreciate nature. Thus, for man to appreciate nature again, the use of literature becomes very important as literature is seen as a weapon of change. During the Romantic era therefore, writers like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, William Blake, Perry .B. Shelly and other romanticists used their works to clamor for a change in the society. The society they lived in was full of chaos as a result of the emergence of science and technology which gave birth to the invention of machines of all kinds. These inventions 'ate up' the society as they were filled with the glamour of this new technological breakthrough. Therefore there was little or no time for the indepth appreciation of the natural and the supernatural.
Religion to the people at the time of these inventions, was a disturbance and so they wanted little or nothing to do with it. Therefore, the appreciation of the supernatural was like a burden rather than a necessity just as the use of natural elements became a waste of time to them. Even though these natural elements help more in their lives than the machines that were used for the manufacturing of their products. These problems, and more were what the writers of this period viewed and were able to forsee that the future of Europe was not safe; therefore, in a bid to try and draw man back to nature, they decided to use their writings to preach the essence of nature and to negate the corrupt practices prevalent at that time. The Romantic era which lasted from 1780-1870, was preceded by the Neo-Classical Period. Bygrave (1996, pVII) describes Romanticism
as a European movement which came to affect all the arts in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is a very generalized way of claiming coherence for a vast range of culture practices…(Bygrave,1996, pVII)
The Romanticists believed in innovation and this is why they deviated from the norms of writing. They believed in change and not stagnancy because they believed that the only constant thing in life is change which can only be caused by the individual. They believed that change starts when the individual sees the chaos in the society, and tries to change it by all means. Romanticists negated the neo-classicists as the latter adhered strictly to their rules and regulations in writing. On this Bodunde states that:
Romanticism came as a direct negation of Neo-classicism.
While the Neo-classical poets emphasized adherence to a
fixed format of artistic composition (artificial rules of poetry like,
rhythm, rhymes, etc.) the Romanticists favoured a spontaneous
and unforced creative strategy of production. (Bodunde, 2007, p235)
This deviation from the norms of writing brought about impeccable changes through the use of the theme of nature, the supernatural, and the vivid imageries discussed in the works of Romanticists. The focus on the natural and the supernatural is to emphasize on the beauty of life in which the Romanticists find themslves as imaginistic and visionary. The writings of the Romanticists was filled with spontaneous flow of emotions which are expressed in solitude as their writings center on the events they experienced in their lifetime right from their childhood to adulthood. Hopes for a better future was therefore expressed using imageries intensified by paying great attention to describing moments in their lives.