The World Is Too Much With Us


6/27/04


William Wordsworth’s "The World Is Too Much With Us" is a lyrical poem dealing with a struggle of the emotions attached to his realization that man replaced the beauty of nature with worldly possessions. The author shows us how we, meaning society or mankind, has become so enveloped by materials, greed, and power that we have forgotten the beauty and serenity of nature. The author longs for a time when man was more in touch with nature, wishing he could become someone who doesn ’t have the weight of money, prestige and power to bear.


Wordsworth’s poem is structured into three parts. In the first part, he shows the problems people have in society concerning materialistic things and the greed associated with it. He then spends a few lines talking about how society has cast a shadow over nature and is so blinded by greed that he has no time to deal with nature. Lastly, the speaker dives into his own personal feelings and tells us that he wishes to escape from the materialistic world to become someone else, escaping his own reality.


Wordsworth starts his poem by claiming a problem; "The world is too much with us, late and soon," and from there he describes feelings of pity, regret and the realization of one’s own selfishness. He then goes on to show why he is angered about the subject, "getting and spending...wasting our powers." In other words we are throwing our lives away on things that matter little in the end. Your money, power, and possessions will be gone while nature will remain. In the fourth line, which states, "We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!" he uses the Greek word \'sordid,\' meaning dirty, when talking about how society has given their hearts away. This shows the level of emotion the author had for the subject and illustrates how strongly he felt about how materialistic and greedy mankind has become. The use of the exclamation point is another obvious use of language to convey emotion. Within the first four lines we also see terms such as "given away," "lay waste," "getting and spending," and "little we see." These are all similar in that they each are a different way of saying \'taken lightly or misused.\' Wordsworth used these terms to show how humans neglect nature and how easily money comes and goes in his day’s society, which is of little value compared with the value of nature.


Wordsworth uses the personification of nature to give his poem more emotion. When you think of a "sea that bears her bosom to the moon" or "the wind that will be howling for hours" you feel nature come alive, as was his goal. The sea showing her bosom and the wind howling are both forgotten by man and the phrase lay "like sleeping flowers" is another example but also shares a deeper meaning. Wordsworth uses the word \'sleeping\' to show that nature was here before humans arrived and will still be here long after we leave. Wordsworth used these lines to say that humankind is too wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life to notice something as large as the sea or something as great as a howling wind. He backs this up with the next line "for this, for everything, we are out of tune," to say not only do we ignore something as magnificent as the sea, we ignore everything, we are completely out of tune with the Earth.


The first thing I noticed was that the next part is broken into a different rhyme scheme. The first eight lines are broken down in "ABBAABBA" format and the last six lines are "CDCDCD". When I analyzed this, I came to the conclusion that the first eight lines deal with society. He uses the words "we" or "us" several times here, meaning society as a whole, and takes you to the author\'s individual solution to his problem with the concluding six lines where it changes from "we" and "us," to "me" and "I". You can see the speaker\'s level of seriousness by using "suckled in a creed town" to say that he would prefer to be a mere pagan brought