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Is Reading Enough?

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Introduction

10/6/03 Dominick Vargas Is Reading Enough? Lyrical Ballads was an experimental book of poems written by William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in the late seventeen hundreds. This book of poems was called experimental because the style it was written in was unlike anything of that time. In this collection of poems is a poem written by Wordsworth called "The Tables Turned." At first glance of this poem, one can assume that this is an anti-intellectual poem. Reason for this is in the opening paragraph when the speaker in the poem tells his friend to, "quit his books." So why would Wordsworth and Coleridge write a book against books? For starters, this poem is against conventional learning. The person that is being spoken to in this paper is probably a common person who at that time is under the notion that you can learn everything and anything from a book. The speaker of the poem calls books a "dull and endless strife." This line must have sound as absurd then as it does now. In each semester of college so far, I am averaging about 10 books a semester that I have to read, which does gives the impression of endless. However, there are a countless number of books in the world, each with its own set of knowledge and information. ...read more.

Middle

The person says that the old man is "by nature led / to peace so perfect..." This deduces an image of a happy and peaceful man. The last part of the poem is different than the first. The person actually goes up to the old man and asks him where he is going. The old man replies that he is going to visit his dying son. The old man, then, really is not so peaceful and perfect. There is no way that the person could have derived this from just reading the man, the person needed interaction. So does reading and interaction go hand-in-hand? To one extent it does because reading is a kind of interaction. However, reading is only interaction between the person and the book. Reading can work with your mind and senses to create a picture in your mind. Nevertheless the only physical aspect of interaction with reading is the holding of the book. Reading offers very little physical interaction. Referring back to the original poem, the thought of needing more than books goes a little deeper. In line 28 of the poem, Wordsworth says "we murder to dissect." Literally speaking, we have to murder an animal in order to analyze it and find out more about it. ...read more.

Conclusion

This creates a kind of dungeon for ourselves which we our minds are trapped into what the books tell us to believe. In the poem "The Dungeon," also in the book Lyrical Ballads though it is written by Coleridge, tells the story of a person in a dungeon. This is where we put people who offend us, and Wordsworth questions that in the poem by saying sarcastically, "and this is their best cure!" Wordsworth said that the energy of the person in the dungeon "roll(s) back upon his heart / and stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison." This poem is a story about a person in a dungeon, however this can be taken a step further by saying that this is what happens to a person if they make a mental dungeon. Their thoughts will stagnate and corrupt. In writing Lyrical Ballads, Coleridge and Wordsworth planned on using layman's terms to get their point across. They do not use long elaborate words that can confuse some people, because they wanted their points to be clear and that everyone can understand them. So when Wordsworth tells the person in the poem "The Tables Turned" to "quit your books," understand that he is saying that you need more to life than just books, you need experiences as well. ...read more.

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