Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Prelude of 1805, Book First, Lines 1-30

The Prelude of 1805 is extremely long, so I would like to focus on Book First, Lines 1-30.

Lately in class we have been talking about whether Wordsworth intended for The Prelude to be philosophical or not. On the one hand, it seems Wordsworth is just describing his life experiences and going through his own thought process. On the other hand, some of Wordsworth's words seem very advise-like, almost as if he is explaining his philosophy of life. In my opinion, I believe The Prelude does have a philosophical context, and I believe Lines 1-30 shows this context through its story-telling and choice of words.

Lines 1-30 of the First Book seem like a story to me, with story-telling qualities. Wordsworth describes his enjoyment of the earth, using detailed adjectives to describe his happiness. Phrases like, "gentle breeze," "enfranchised," and "sweet stream" are used, enhancing Wordsworth's story. This use of adjectives shows Wordsworth's quality of being a story teller, which contributes to a philosophical context. Philosophy, in general, is a series of ideas told in stories. Plato, for example, imparted his philosophy on the masses by telling stories that exemplified his philosophy. Also, the Bible is a series of stories that describes Christianity. Therefore, Wordsworth sets up The Prelude into a series of stories in order to describe his philosophy on life.

Again, looking at the adjectives in these lines, Wordsworth's choice of words contributes to his philosophical context. Not only does he use words to describe his moment of bliss, but he uses certain words that allude to a philosophical intent. Words like, "half conscious," "set free," and "is all before me" exemplify Wordsworth's view on life, or his philosophy. The words when looked at individually and as a whole still show a philosophical background. By adding these phrases to a story, Wordsworth conveys his philosophy of life through The Prelude.

Although I only focused on a small section of The Prelude, I still believe Lines 1-30 of Book First exemplify Wordsworth's philosophical intent. However, the great thing about The Prelude is that Wordsworth's intent can be constantly disputed, which I think Wordsworth would want his readers to do.

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