William Wordsworth 's Poetry : Childhood Against Adulthood Essay

1307 Words Oct 16th, 2016 6 Pages
William Wordsworth’s poetry presents a key juxtaposition between two stages in life — childhood against adulthood. In fact, this juxtaposition of youth versus age presents a recurring tension in Wordsworth’s works, from “Tintern Abbey” to “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” due to their contradictory depictions. There is the constant questioning by the reader of which state Wordsworth presents as the more of the two stages in life. Ultimately, Wordsworth’s poetry depicts adulthood as better than childhood because adults acquire a special consciousness of their surroundings, they attain sympathy for their past, and they possess a goodness that children have not yet acquired.
Some would argue that Wordsworth’s poetry actually depicts childhood as better than adulthood, because it’s a time in which people are carefree and happy in life. After all, the tradeoff of childhood for adulthood is best described in the following quote:
…For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity (Tintern 88-91)
The exchange of “thoughtless youth” for the ability to hear the “still, sad music of humanity” appears undesirable, even horrid. The idea that a person would willingly sacrifice youth to attain the ability to see the sadness in the world seems absurd. Moreover, the narrator in Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” speaks with lamentation of the passing of childhood. The “Ode” narrator goes so…

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