Excerpt from The Prelude - William Wordsworth

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  • The Prelude
    • Context
      • Romantic movement
        • Wordsworth was part of the Romantic movement; a group of poets who believed in reuniting man and nature, and that emotion was the key to poetry
        • Romantic poets focussed on the power of nature and believed that poetry should be accessible so they made it easy to understand for the common man
        • Romantic poets saw it as their duty to inform and inspire
      • Wordsworth started writing the poem in 1798 and "finished" the poem in 1805, although he never truly believed it to be finished as it was autobiographical
      • the poem is 14 sections long and referred to as an epic poem due to the  length of it
    • Nature
      • "woodland pleasures"
        • this creates an idea of nature being a place of comfort for the children somewhere they can go to play and feel free, instead of a negative as woodlands can be portrayed as
      • structure and form
        • the change from a positive portrayal of nature at the start of the poem ("frosty season") to a negative one at the end ("icy crag")
          • shows how his perceptions of nature and sense of wonder deteriorated as he grew older, and nature became more ominous and a looming presence, whereas it was once a thing of beauty
      • "leafless trees"
        • nature is ever changing and as nature dies away, so does his childhood
      • "distant hills"
        • the hills were looming over him as the darkness of the the evening swallowed up all the beauty he saw before, the hills once vibrant green may have become black shadows on the horizon, ominous to a young child
    • Passing of Time
      • "an alien sound/ Of melancholy"
        • the idea of sadness is presented as uncommo in these childrens lives, whereas the speaker, looking back on his childhood inthe poem, seems to understand the feeling a lot more deeply
      • "in the frost season"
        • talks about the changing of the seasons, indicating a rhythmic passing of time
      • "twilight" to "orange sky of evening died away"
        • the idea of time changing so quickly in just a matter of lines in the poem shows how, as a child, time pase quickly
      • structure and form
        • the negative ending of the poem could signify the end of his childhood and the passing of such an enjoyable time
          • "died away"
    • Negative Emotions
      • "alien sound/ Of melancholy"
        • the sound of melancholy and sadness is not commonly heard amony children and is therefore a foreign and confusing sound to be wary of
      • "the orange sky of evening died away"
        • as the evening died away, so did another day of his childhood, a time he enjoyed and one which was short and of a limited time length
      • "leafless trees"
        • nature is dying along with his childhood, the colour drained from the trees just as the colour drains from his life as he grows older
      • structure and form
        • negative emotions only seen at t end of poem after the volta, reflecting his emotions changing as the days end and =how he know the times of joy he is experiencing at the time will not last forever
    • Sense of Place
      • "The cottage windows through the twilight blaz'd"
        • the windows of the cottage look warm and cozy, as apposed to the "frost season" outside, contrasting and showing the difference between the outside of his home and the inside, although he still loves all aspects of it
      • "through the darkness and cold we flew"
        • the children are uncaring and oblivious to the cold and darkness surrounding them and are instead enjoying the freedom they are experiencing and feel uncontrolled and free
      • "heeded not the summons"
        • the child is being told to return home but does not listen to the calls from his family at home as he is happy outside with and feels at home there, enjoying himself
      • "village clock toll'd six"
        • the idea of this being set in a village creates a sense of warm community and everyone knowing one another, small and friendly area

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