The Representation Of Innocence In Wordsworth's We Are Seven

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To Rousseau, innocence was key to rebuilding civilisation. He believed that reverting to nature would bring back childhood innocence and past attachments due to its simple state. After observing multiple tests from poets with various life experiences, it’s apparent that they agree with Rousseau. When looking at these poems it’s important to note when analysing these poems that innocence does not necessarily mean being in a childlike state, and was rather about keeping a moral imagination and recognising links within the world and how they work in collaboration with each other. It is apparent that the representation of innocence is widely due to the political and historical background during the Romantic period.
From analysing the aforementioned
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Despite the very traumatic environments they are thrust into, children are portrayed as innocent and pure throughout poetry. Even though they work in dangerous conditions and their lives are consistently put at risk, they never lose their purity and inquisitive nature, which is seen in poems like ‘We Are Seven’, where Wordsworth uses a question and answer format for the reader to find out more about the young girl. Wordsworth writes “Sisters and brothers, little Maid, how many may you be?” to introduce the format that becomes prevalent in We Are Seven. This format is used in many other poems to reflect childlike innocence and their inquisitive nature. For example, the same format is used in ‘Song’ when the narrator asks “Child, is thy father dead?” and the child responds with “Father is gone!”. Here, Blake leaves room for interpretation by using the constant questioning. To poets in the Romantic period, childhood daydreams and visions were the true source of adult creativity, while others believed them to be delusions. While these instances are very compelling, one of the best examples of childhood innocence occurs in ‘The Chimney Sweeper’, where the narrator says, “Because I am happy and dance and sing, they think they have done me no injury”, a perfect example of childhood innocence transitioning to experience which leaves we as…show more content…
From this it is clear to see that Wordsworth believed that rural life was key, and that he and many other writers could speak in a more honest language than the educated, whom he believed lost touch with what was real. Language, to Wordsworth, directly embodies human passion, and he believed more direct language meant that people were emotionally mature. Amongst others like Rousseau, Wordsworth also believed that civilisation would be saved if emotional language was connected with nature. This would therefore make people seem more stable, rational, and keeps them rooted in their past memories and previous attachments. An example of this is best shown in ‘Lines Written at a Small Distance from My House and Sent by My Little Boy to the Person to Whom They Are Addressed’, where Wordsworth writes “Then come, my sister I come, I pray, with speed put on your woodland dress, and bring no book; for this one day we’ll give to idleness”. Likewise, he highlights the importance of being rooted in your emotions and attachments in the same poem when he writes “From earth to man, from man to earth – It is the hour of feeling”.
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