Saint Mary’s University Department of English English 2393.1 The Study of Poetry Dr. Deborah Kennedy September to December 2022
Essay on William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Date Due: Monday, October 24, 2022 Length: about 3 typed pages (about 700 to 1000 words) Value: 30% of final grade Essay Format: Include a title page. Use double-spacing, not single-spacing. Structure: To write your essay, develop your own ideas, based on what you have learned in class and from reading Wordsworth. Your essay needs to have an introductory paragraph, middle paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Note: Students are reminded that the work they submit must be their own. If you use any outside sources, then you have to cite them. Submission: Submit your essay as a PDF on Brightspace, uploading it to the Assessments tab.
Choose one topic from the following.
1. Nature and Technology: In the sonnet “The World Is Too Much with Us,” Wordsworth laments how people have become alienated from nature. In “Expostulation and Reply” and “The Tables Turned,” Wordsworth defends the importance of spending time in nature, which he also shows in “I Wandered.” In your discussion of two or three of these poems, consider how Wordsworth’s concerns are relevant in the twenty-first century. Would Wordsworth think that the “cyber world” is “too much with us” in today’s technologically advanced times?
2. “Resolution and Independence”: Bridging the Generation Gap: Explain how Wordsworth shows respect for the old Leech-gatherer in the poem “Resolution and Independence.” The poem is loosely based on an experience that Wordsworth had, when he was aided by a conversation with the older man. How does Wordsworth show the importance of bridging the generation gap in this poem?
3. “Lucy Gray”: “Lucy Gray” is based on a true story of a tragic accident, as Wordsworth explains: “It was founded on a circumstance told me by my sister, of a little girl who, not far from Halifax in Yorkshire, was bewildered in a snow storm. Her footsteps were traced by her parents to the middle of a lock of a canal, and no other vestige of her, backward or forward, could be traced. The body, however, was found in the canal.” Comment on how Wordsworth presents the story in his poem, and explain why you think “Lucy Gray” has been so well-loved by readers for two centuries.