William Wordsworth and a Vindication Term Paper

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The same is true of politics, where there are few women political leaders, and the United States has never seen a woman president or vice-president. It is interesting to note that Wollstonecraft hopes women will "grow more and more masculine" in order to compete with men, and yet, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been criticized for that very attribute, pointing to how little real difference there is between today and Wollstonecraft's time.

To continue that theme, Wordsworth's poem "The World is Too Much With Us" also carries themes and images that mirror events in today's society. Wordsworth's short poem decries the lack of respect for the natural world and the greed and power that seemed to permeate society at the time, and led to the activities of the French Revolution and other rebellions against tyranny and inequality. He writes, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers / Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!" (Wordsworth 1550). These lines ring remarkably relevant today, especially when compared with events happening in the United States and around the world. Our society is ever increasingly engrossed with possessions, appearances, and self-interests, rather than showing concern for others, the natural world, or even those less fortunate. This "greed" has led to a "sordid boon" of crime, aggression, and fear between ourselves and our neighbors, both in our own communities and around the world. We attack other countries in the name of safety, and turn our backs on the growing problem of global warming and environmental responsibility in the name of ignorance and self-importance. It is as if Wordsworth's words were written as a testament to his own times, but come back glaringly to indicate just how little progress humanity has made in the end. We have every technological advantage, we have fortunes compared to how people in Wordsworth's time lived, and we have conveniences that Wordsworth could only dream of, and yet it seems our society has made fewer spiritual and personal advances than even Wordsworth could have thought possible.
It is as if society can advance technologically and in time, but the roots of society are still entrenched in the basic ills that keep us from advancing too far or creating a more enlightened and empowered world.

Both of these writers worked in the late 18th to early 19th century, and reading their works it would be easy to think that society has grown rapidly since then. It has, but clearly, it has not, as well. Both of these works poignantly point out that society always seems to suffer from the same ills, no matter what time has passed or innovations have created better and more efficient lives. In Wordsworth's time, humanity was already turning away from the natural world and simple pleasures, and women were being treated as third class (or worse) citizens. Society had ills, and both of these writers wanted to change society and make it better. Many would argue that today's society has nothing in common with these early works, but sadly, it has much more in common than many would realize. At the core of their arguments, these writers wanted society to blossom and change, becoming better, more equal, balanced, understanding, and aware. Instead, much of society has remained firmly rooted in those same ideals and actions that the writers decried two centuries ago. Society has made great strides, but as long as the words of writers like Wordsworth and Wollstonecraft still apply to what is happening today, it has not made nearly the strides it should have made in these modern times.


Wollstonecraft, Mary. "From 'A Vindication of the Rights of Women'." The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Eighth Edition. Stephen Greenblatt, M.H. Abrams, editors. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. 1456-1460.

Wordsworth, William. "The World is Too Much With Us." The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Eighth Edition. Stephen Greenblatt, M.H. Abrams, editors. New York: W.W.….....

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