Analysis of William Wordsworth
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William Wordsworth poem, Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey…July 13, 1798, is about a man returning, after fives years, to the beautiful scenery near the ruins of Tintern Abbey in Wales. He recalls how he once had such innocent views of nature when he was younger and how now that he had grown he’d lost such sight. Near the end of the poem the speaker mentions his sister, Dorothy, only to make himself appear to be this wise man who takes his sister under his wings. He ensures her that when he is gone she can be comforted and protected memories of him and their love for nature. Dorothy’s ideas are disregarded and replaced with those of her brother, as if her own are unworthy of mentioning or possessing. Wordsworth may perhaps believe that he is doing his sister a favor by passing on to her his love for nature.
The speaker views Dorothy as this innocent being whom doesn’t understand the depth of nature as he has grown to understand it. After five years the speaker no longer has the same perception of the world, unlike Dorothy he has grown and learned to look at nature from a more mature point of view. Dorothy unfortunately possesses this innocent mind which still captures nature with the joy a child may have. He completely seems to underestimate her because she is a woman. Wordsworth writes, in lines 112-120:
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,”
In other words he is no longer capable of thinking in such a childlike manner he has to turn to his sister, with her “wild eyes” and hope to relive this pleasure. This implies that he believes he is a wise man now, which comes along with this superior attitude.
He does not wish to go back to those days, of ignorant bliss. His sister however is cute and innocent like a girl should be in his opinion. When he says he catches the language of his former heart in her voice it implies that he no longer speaks that language and obviously no longer understand it. As if to say that the mind of his sister, a woman, is so juvenile that a man can not comprehend it after he matures. He has rose above her and smiles at how he use to be similar to her. Dorothy is below him, he is looking down on her as an eighth grader would look down on a first grader in school. The feeling of dominance is alive in him.
Dorothy’s experiences are not discussed in this poem, instead her brother projects his ideas onto her. Her thoughts are not mentioned, it is assumed that she feels the same as her brother. The speaker does not inquire about Dorothy’s point of view, as if it does not matter. Wordworths writes in lines 121-126:
“My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress”
He wants his sister to carry on with her the joy nature brings to them. He says “our life” as if they are one. This may suggest that he is projecting his life upon her, however at the same time where does her life go? We as readers do not know if she actually has the same joys he has for the rivers, the hills and the mountains. He may be so desperate to hold on