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The Romantic Movement was a literary movement that took place starting in the mid- to late-18th century and ended in the 19th century in which the natural world took on new importance in the face of increasingly industrialized atmospheres…
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Writers following this tradition sought to find meaning within the natural world that seemed lost within the created world of the humans. However, the way they did this changed depending on their position in time and space. Blake lived from 1757 to 1827 and saw the beginning of the industrial revolution and the growth of the factories. He was aware of the dangers of this growth and saw some of the destruction it brought about, but he lived in England where some of the cities had already had long histories and the erosion of nature didn't seem so dramatic as places such as America where much of the land was still relatively untamed and all of the architecture was new. Wordsworth was an American poet who lived from 1770-1850. The changes that were taking place in America were similar to those happening in Europe, but seemed more dramatic. Both of these poets worked within the same literary movement to emphasize the importance of nature in poems such as "Tyger" and "The World is Too Much With Us" respectively. In poems such as "Tyger," Blake focuses on his own individual way of seeing the world and on the emotions these investigations brought out. This is in keeping with the then emerging Romantic movement which placed a great deal of emphasis on emotional feeling, particularly as it was inspired by nature. This emphasis on emotional feeling is seen in "Tyger" as Blake starts the poem with two exclamatory statements: "Tyger! Tyger!" (1) and infuses them with a strong image in the darkness of the reader's mind: "burning bright / In the forests of the night" (1-2). Most of the poem is written with the intention of creating a sense of awe around the creature that is the focal point of the poem and continues to force the reader's attention on this concept. The tiger's features are described in deadly but beautiful detail, "In what distant deeps or skies / Burnt the fire of thine eyes?" (5-6), in such a way as to constantly focus the attention on its emotional impact. At the same time, these statements are phrased in the form of rhetorical questions that naturally cause the mind to start trying to answer them and thus considering the images more carefully. This same emphasis on the emotions is found in Wordsworth's poem as he opens his poem with a sense, a feeling, that there is something missing in the new modern life of the cities. "The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers" (1-2). Before the reader is even certain what it is that Wordsworth is talking about, it is clear that he is feeling a sense of emptiness in daily life and a sense of having little energy or interest in this life. This is also in keeping with his personal times. Although Blake was writing at a time when the industrial revolution was having the same effect on his homeland as Wordsworth, Wordsworth wrote in a place where it seemed the factories and cities were taking over all of the natural beauty of the world, burying it under concrete. It seemed inevitable to most writers of his time and he rightly mourns the loss. He says "We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! / ... / For this, for everything, we are out of tune" (4, 8). Although Blake's creation is filled with the profound emotion of awe, Wordsworth's demonstrates a profound sense of loss. However, both poets discover a sense of natural feeling inherent in the images they produce for their readers and both keep this emotion at the forefront of their poems. Within his poem, Blake focuses on an element of the ‘supernatural’ as something that existed outside the realm of everyday experience, another key characteristic of
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