Compare the Ways in Which Hopkins’ ‘God’s Grandeur’ and Wordsworth’s ‘the World Is Too Much with Us’ Use the Sonnet Form to Address Their Contemporary Concerns.

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British poets during the nineteenth century, a period of great social, economic and environmental change, experienced an astounding shift in poetic style, in which many based their work on the ‘beauty’ of their surroundings, and how mankind affected this. Of this period, two of the leading nature poets in British literary history, Gerard Manley Hopkins and William Wordsworth became known, renowned as great figures in British literary history. Both adopted a ‘sacramental’ view of nature, that is they saw beyond the obvious features commonly associated with the natural world such as phenomenal features of the landscape. Writing during the Industrial Revolution, both poets considered the divinity and holiness at a deeper level and found that …show more content…

The appetite mankind has for devouring all that is around, clouds their perspective as to what they have sacrificed for progress, which Wordsworth believes is the beauty of the world around him. This is captured in the line ‘Little we see in nature that is ours’, which highlights that we no longer appreciate the natural world. Unlike 19th century society, Wordsworth does not see nature as a commodity but primarily as something which all people should be in touch with. The collective term ‘ours’ implies that all have the possibility of having a ‘relationship’ with nature, for it was provided for us to enjoy and showing that this relationship is at mankind’s mercy. Undoubtedly, Wordsworth was influenced by his surrounding in the Lake District, where he lived during the period in which this poem was written before publishing in 1807.

Sin and corruption is a common theme in both poems. For Wordsworth, the use of the phrase "A sordid boon!" (line 4) is an interesting use of oxymoron. A "boon" is defined as a blessing but in describing it as sordid, the word is given a negative connotation of immorality. This poem examines the persona’s thoughts and feelings towards the industrialization of modern society and comments on the loss of innocence and moral integrity this has brought upon society. Through contrasting