• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The presentation of Childhood in lyrical ballads

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Lyrical Ballads show us Wordsworth and Coleridge's views on childhood? During the romantic period views on childhood dramatically changed from the previous. The enlightenment involved people having the belief that children should have no respects and as a result were 'seen and no heard'. This dramatically changed to children being a source of learning, so children could teach adults ways of life. This essay will discuss the different aspects of childhood and look at Wordsworth and Coleridge's views. From a romantics point of view children were seen as pure, simple and innocent human beings, which had great importance to the world's teachings. Wordsworth gives the idea that a child is simple in the poem 'We are seven' (pg 59) when the opening line says "a simple child, drear brother Jim". The poem idealises childhood, describing a little girl to be a "sweet maid". The young girl lives out in the countryside, which at that time would be seen as a good thing, people who were raised in the countryside would be seen to have more moral than those brought up in towns. ...read more.

Middle

Another example showing this is how she says, "I sit and sing to them" suggesting she believes they are listening and can hear her. She is persistent there are seven siblings all together even though two are "in heaven" which would mean there are five. Wordsworth in two of his poems, "We are Seven" and "Anecdote for Fathers" presents a patronising attitude towards children, in a way that he continuously asking them things, questioning their thoughts, how they feel and what they believe; "My little boy which you like more?" (pg 57. Anecdote for fathers) " 'Yet you are seven; I pray you tell 'Sweet maid, how this may be? " (pg 60. We are Seven) This suggests that Wordsworth disagrees with Rousseau idea and believes that adults cannot learn from children because they lack life's experience resulting in naivety and simple outlooks on life. In contrast, at the end of Anecdote for Fathers, Wordsworth attempts to establish the theme of innocence, being a child and how this can have influence on man, as well as mans influence on the child. "Of what from thee I learn" (pg 58) ...read more.

Conclusion

This boy is a prime example of Rousseau's idea of the 'noble savage', being brought up with nature. His association with the natural world enables him to understand the names of birds easily and is familiar with all their calls, suggesting his intelligence. "But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes" However, the foster mother criticises him, saying he is "unteachable", because he rejected religion and wouldn't learn his prayers, showing a very narrow minded view on what education is. As a child the boy is found "wrapped in mosses" by a friar who raises him and taught him to stick to his beliefs and not to change them for others. It is suggested that the boy is only able to learn from the friar, which shows a significance towards the idea that we learn better from the ones we love. From the four poems I have discussed in Lyrical Ballads, the idea of Jean Jacques Rousseau has a major influence on the presentation of childhood given by Wordsworth and Coleridge. Also there is the idea that a child's innocence in easily taken away by an attempt to teach them to be more worldly and sophisticated. Harriet Gardner Childhood 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level William Wordsworth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level William Wordsworth essays

  1. Form and meaning of The Daffodils by W.Wordsworth and Miracle on St.David’s Day by ...

    This gives stanza one a song like quality. Stanza two opens with a simile and a comparison. Wordsworth compares the daffodils to stars, which stretch endlessly to the human eye. Wordsworth compares the numbers of the daffodils to the vast amount of stars. "Continuous as the stars that shine", this means that the daffodils continued beyond the reach

  2. How is the theme of Childhood presented in The Lyrical Ballads?

    The narrator's view is that although she did have six brothers and sisters, she now only has four. The girl's brother and sister are no longer alive and thus cannot be considered human, and equally can no longer be the girl's brother and sister in any real sense, so he only recognises her as having four siblings.

  1. In your opinion, how successfully does Lyrical Ballads capture the hour of feeling?

    of the urban; the developing science of psychology ('The Mad Mother', 'The Complaint'); alternative ways of expressing spiritual and religious conviction; life as a journey or process, a state of flux rather than a fixed course ( 'The Old Man Travelling', ' Ancyent Marinere')

  2. English essay about Worthwords

    And he now fears the worst has happened. 7th stanza - What fond and wayward thoughts will slide Into a Lover's head! "O mercy!" to myself I cried, "If Lucy should be dead!" In the last stanza of the poem, Wordsworth strengthens the readers understanding of what the speaker already fears.

  1. Free essay

    How do Coleridge and Wordsworth present human suffering in the 'Lyrical Ballads'?

    The very fact that the narrator has heard rumours from the community, such as "some will say She hanged her baby on the tree, Some say she drowned it in the pond", clearly show how the woman is thought of by the rest of society- because she does not conform,

  2. Lyrical Ballads - Nature essay

    Wordsworth regards to the Gregorian calender as '[a] joyless form' in Lines written at a small distance, it 'regulates' our lives, taking us away from nature and its joyful attributes. There is also evidence within the poems to suggest the poets believe nature has the sufficient power to be a teacher.

  1. Lyrical Ballads

    they may represent nature on a whole as is noticeable in 'We are seven'. The narrator personas in the two poems 'We are seven' and 'Anecdote for fathers' are shown to be insensitive of children's feelings.

  2. In Lucy Gray and There was a boy Wordsworth examines childhood in similar ways ...

    The image of Lucy is distorted, the reader never sees the girl entirely even when she is alive, to the reader she is fading already. Wordsworth intentionally portrays her as a transient being as she is only glimpsed like she is a ghost on the ?Wild?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work