How do the poems ‘We are seven’, ‘Anecdote for fathers’ and ‘The idiot boy’ reflect Romantics beliefs about childhood

Children were severely abused during the 18th century; they were used, by the poor, as a means to money through child labour or prostitution. The industrial revolution saw children working long hours with the extremely dangerous machinery and equipment in the factories. The infant mortality rates were also very high during the 18th century. The romantics saw childhood as the most important period of time in a person’s life where one is closest to nature than he would ever be through his innocence and spirituality.

        Wordsworth shows how much one can learn from children through his poem ‘Anecdote for fathers’. The father feels he could not ‘teach the hundredth part’ of what he learns from his child, here we see the Romantic’s beliefs of equality, where the commonly impotent child has actually taught his father, an adult, the lie that is born from love. The use of ‘hundredth’ exemplifies the extent of knowledge that the child has passed on to the father, which is the art of lying born in love and sensitivity. From this the child has taught the father the innocent, if not pure, form of lying which seems so alien to the brutal and sinful lying in the adult world, Wordsworth seems to highlight this with the extent of the fathers astonishment at his child.

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        The Romantics often pressed upon the children’s closeness to nature, Wordsworth presents the children in Rusting settings. In ‘The idiot boy’ the constant reference to the ‘moon that shines so bright’ gives the reader a contrast of a romantic and peaceful image against the ‘bustle’ of human activity, also the fact that Johnny is ‘beneath’ and is ‘not more still or mute than he’ shows he is in sync with the moon, and nature. It is also noticeable that Edward, in the ‘Anecdote for fathers’, prefers the rural setting that his family have moved to. Also, The romantics view ...

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