No familiar shapes Of hourly objects, images of trees... By day and were the trouble of my dreams.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” –William Wordsworth.

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Question

Reference to context


No familiar shapes

Of hourly objects, images of trees,

Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;

But huge and mighty Forms that do not live

Like living men mov'd slowly through the mind

By day and were the trouble of my dreams. June'2013

 

Answer

Reference

These lines are taken from William Wordsworth’s The Prelude.

Context

Wordsworth describes a childhood memory of ice-skating during the winter season. He explores the beauty of the nature and freedom of the childhood. The poem is autobiographical, describing a childhood memory of growing up in countryside. It also gives us the background of the proposed ambitious work, ‘The Reculse’. Wordworth begin writing this poem in the 18th Century (1798). It is an ‘epic’ poem - in its entirety it is very long, and took him around 40 years to write. He was one of the Romantics Poet- they wrote about the beauty of the nature, even describing it as the sublime- something that takes us beyond the reality – something which is both awe- inspiring and terrifying simultaneously.

Explanation

In these lines the narrator no longer thinks nature is beautiful, he has learnt that it is more important /powerful than that. Nature is described as powerful and is compared to human being. Someone who can influence our lives. Here the poet becomes a mystic. When he saw the huge hill moving towards him as if with will of its own, he 'saw' nature and was aware of 'unknown modes of being'. It was a revelation: The world 'revealed' was entirely different from the world we perceive, and know through our senses. Nothing familiar can compare with it. And in that moment of revelation the familiar world disappeared, the poet was lifted to another plane of realization, to a different world or awareness.


Analysis

In these lines the narrator has used “no familiar shapes” as a metaphor to show that he is feeling alone and unsettled. Repetition of the word “no” shows the contrast with how he feels now. The poet finishes with an unsettling image with contrasts with the mood and tone at the beginning of the poem. “Nature” is used as a simile. Wordsworth effectively describes the night-time atmosphere with his choices of images, but the gentle moonlight becomes darkness as the poet –narrator’s state of mind becomes troubled in “no familiar shapes of hourly objects and images of trees”. This type of imagery can be associated with gothic (sinister or grotesque) tales, nightmares or even horror. Wordsworth's romanticism lies in this mystical approach to nature but he describes his 'personal' experience with such force as to give it universal validity and appeal.


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