Romanticism is the belief that exists within an individual in the power of nature and how that belief can transform one’s perception one’s existence. My definition of romanticism is demonstrated throughout the tale of “Bobbie and the Butterfly.” Nature is a prominent theme within Bobbie’s existence. Nature is portrayed as the catalyst that transforms Bobbie’s inner beauty and enables Bobbie to relate to his surroundings. Nature is society’s teacher and the guide to all our innocence. Romanticism is the basis for three ideal traits: belief in the individual, belief that nature is the prominent feature in society, and the belief that dreams are achieved through one’s imagination. With this story I wanted to depict the outdoors as a place to get away from the world and society. In romanticism, society and man are like pieces in a puzzle. Yet nature is more defined and concrete, so I created the character of Bobbie to symbolize the child-like innocence that nature embodies. At the beginning of this tale young Bobbie decides he wants to venture out to explore his world and catch a few fish for dinner. His desire to overcome the physical obstacles in his life, such age and height, give him the individual freedom to strive for the unknown and in this case, to catch a few fish. In romanticism the individual is but a small part of society’s landscape, but his belief in nature and his belief in himself is the soil in which he is planted. In this story the obvious absence of society plays a key role in linking it to romanticism. In the past, society was the center of all of man’s mistakes and corruptions. In this tale young Bobbie does not have to encounter any problems originating from outer interference as he is depicted as a lone participant enjoying nature around him. I wanted to explain how imagination plays a strong role in how we as individuals deal with reality. Without imagination the world would seem very plain and dull. Bobbie expresses his emotions and his thoughts of nature through day-dreaming, thereby providing a mechanism by which Bobbie can deal with the realities of life and the perceived shortcomings of his own life. Romanticism depicts a romantic spirit, it depicts an idealistic outlook on life that is fanciful and fictitious yet serves a useful purpose in life. In “Bobbie and the Butterfly,” Bobbie’s dream of fishing while sitting in the classroom symbolizes the visionary aspects of Romanticism and the usefulness that romanticism serves in everyday life. Imagination can be the key that unlocks the frustration that one may feel when dealing with life’s realities.
Sample Student Work (task and standards)
12th Grade, British Literature
Each student will create 2-3 well-crafted poems, a children’s story, or a work of two- or three-dimensional art to exhibit in a Museum of Romantic Ideals. Each student will compose a reflective, expository essay to accompany his/her artifact in the museum display. In this essay the student will demonstrate understanding of Romanticism by explaining how the created artifact represents the characteristics of Romanticism.
Circumstances of the Assignment
Student worked alone to create the product.
Product was created outside of class.
ELABLRL3 The student deepens understanding of literary works by relating them to their contemporary context or historical background, as well as to works from other time periods. b. Relates a literary work to the characteristics of the literary time period that it represents.
v. Romantic Period
ELABLRL4 The student employs a variety of writing genres to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of significant ideas in sophisticated literary works. The student composes essays, narratives, poems, or technical documents. The student
b. Analyze the use of imagery, language, and other particular aspects of a text that contribute to theme or