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Demonstrate the persistence of Wordsworthian ideal of country folk, childhood and natural education in the two texts that you have chosen.

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Demonstrate the persistence of Wordsworthian ideal of country folk, childhood and natural education in the two texts that you have chosen. Critical Essay by Rachel Gowland. Wordsworth, as a poet of the romantic era, had several themes, which contribute to this title. This essay will be looking at these themes and discovering whether they have any relevance in the texts studied. These are, the Secret Garden and Goodnight Mr Tom. The preference for rural life and its people was at the height of fashion at the time of Wordsworth. Social reformers such as Rousseau talked about the "noble savage" and the rustic idyll was an accepted theme for artistes and poets alike. While the social revolutions may have changed by the time the texts were written, the ideals are still continued to some degree. Wordsworth had many sympathies with the victims and vagrants that wandered in the cities and the countryside. Many of his short poems were portraits of simple rural people, intended to illustrate the nature of these folk and their basic wisdom. Poems such as Michael (1880) have the characters almost fused with their natural surroundings. In Michael, patience and tenderness are the key features of the old man's character. There is strength and a "natural affinity to the hills and fields in which he lived and worked." 1 The Secret garden is almost a glorification of rustic folk and their simple way of life. Mary Lennox first encounters Martha, who gives her glimpses of a simple life quite alien to her. ...read more.


"I'd like to git my hands on that women", the warden growled furiously. His pride had been shaken badly. It was embarrassing to have them think he didn't know his job." (Page 207) 3 Again, it is the simple country folk in the text who can see through the external ugliness and weakness to the beauty that lies beneath. And it is the country folk who unlock Will from his past. Wordsworth and his contemporaries, viewed childhood as a time of great innocence and joy. A time when new experiences are welcomed and emotions and senses are at there most responsive There was a time when meadow, grove and stream The earth and every common sight, To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and freshness of a dream. (Line 1-5) 4 They viewed the child as a redeemer of the adult with their innocence and freedom of mind and spirit. In the Secret Garden, the children can be seen to hold the key to all wisdom. Martha plays an important part in helping Mary to grow into a whole human being. "He wouldn't like me." Said Mary in her stiff, cold little way. No-one does." Marta looked reflective again. "How does tha' like thyself?" (Page 61) 2 In the same way Mary then passes on her newfound wisdom to Colin and they both look to Dickon to expand their experience. It is Dickon who becomes the real redeemer. ...read more.


He would lie on the grass "watching things growing," he said. "If you watched long enough you could see the buds unsheathe themselves." (Page221) 2 This positive attitude to learning and education can also be seen in Goodnight Mr Tom. Will has a formal education, but has to grow in spirit to progress in the mind. Again it's the positiveness of the people and surroundings that help him to a new confidence. "We'll begin this evening," he said sharply. "That do?" "Wot?" "Learnin' to read and write. I'll teach you to write yer own name for a beginnin'." (Page 102) 3 His times of growth and change correspond to when he is with nature. He makes friends and begins to learn how to interact whilst picking blackberries. He becomes more relaxed and confident whilst on holiday by the sea. Again there is this almost holistic approach as Will improves physically, mentally and emotionally. He is able to express himself through art and then acting as his confidence grows. Finally through nature and physical expenditure he is able to come to terms with the grief and loss in his life. In both texts the children are changed by the country folk around them and the ideals and life that they uphold. These rustic folk become educators and healers through their wisdom and plain good sense. The children bloom through a newfound confidence and most importantly an acceptance of oneself. Once this happens they can then consciously and unconsciously redeem the adults around them. In these ways the Wordsworthian ideals are prevalent throughout the texts. ...read more.

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