There are times when reading an essay that it is confusing to understand what the author is trying to purvey. Later, gaining more knowledge of the subject through other authors, it is easier to see what previous authors that have been read where trying to say. Looking at Henry David Thoreau’s “Solitude” after reading William Wordsworth’s “The World is Too Much with Us” brought clarity to many aspects of Thoreau’s essay. Wordsworth’s poem brought clarity to what Thoreau believed some people are missing or closing themselves off to when they sever their ties to the natural world, the bond that Thoreau himself has with nature and why it seems he has found happiness.
There are many aspects of nature that many people miss that both Thoreau and Wordsworth see. When Wordsworth speaks of “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; / little we see in nature that is ours” (356), it clarifies a conversation Thoreau has within his essay with one of his “townsmen, who has accumulated what is called a handsome property” (50). The conversation that Thoreau has with this townsman leads the man to asking Thoreau how he could “give up so many of the comforts of life” (50). When Wordsworth’s quote is applied, it helps to illuminate the point that many people are so busy trying to gain material possessions that they can no longer see simple beauty in nature; everything has to have a monetary value to make it worthwhile for many people to pursue. It shows that many people do not find peace in nature, they only find it through the material world.
Wordsworth in his poem expresses his belief that “we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon” (356) this emphasizes the aspect of Thoreau’s essay that deals with where many people have ended up in the world. Wordsworth’s quotation shows that he feels that people have given away a part of themselves, the part that is in the natural world not the material world; and the fact that what they have given it up for is empty and vile. This brings clarity to when Thoreau talks about his observations of what people face living close together. Thoreau says “we have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war” (52). This rigid society where “we live thick and in each other’s way” (Thoreau 52) is what we get when we give up the bond with nature; this is what Thoreau seems to believe we have asked for, and seems to be a clear example of the “sordid boon” (356) Wordsworth is trying to open our eyes to.
Wordsworth goes on to talk about how we have lost touch with nature and that “we are out of tune; / it moves us not” (356), saying that we are no longer on the same wave length as nature and that it no longer stirs any deep feelings within us. With this quote, it helps to understand the points in Thoreau’s essay where he speaks of the same issues of people not being “wholly involved with nature” (51) and that many people “have lost their subscription ticket to…this world” (53). Wordsworth’s words help to decipher what Thoreau is trying to explain; there is no great bond between most men and nature anymore and that even the most beautiful sunset is no longer as appreciated as it once was.
There are also aspects in Wordsworth’s poem that helps to shed light upon the bond that Thoreau has with nature, and that it seems as if Wordsworth would actually be jealous of what Thoreau has experienced. When Wordsworth said he would “rather be a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn” (356) it helped me to understand the bond that Thoreau has with nature. When Wordsworth talks of wanting to have a closer bond to nature like the bond created by