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In most of Wordsworth’s poetry he seemed to try and make the reader aware of their environment, of their dependence on it for health, sanity and ultimate happiness. He wanted to nature to confirm that love, joy and beauty were not just fragile human values but cosmic absolutes. Often Wordsworth used unique methods of sensory perception as well as combining the physical world with nature on a more personal, subjective level. Much of his poems use these and other techniques to display the possibility of living contently, looking within nature for inspiration and fulfillment. Wordsworth’s poem Animal Tranquility and Decay, which he wrote in 1798, merely twenty-eight years into his existence, displays his early realization of such perceptions. This poem uses a oblivious man walking as a subject to demonstrate the possibility of absolute happiness outside of physical pain. Animal Tranquility and Decay represents a connection between nature, as the physical world, and how we live (or the subject of the poem in this case) as a result of it.
Wordsworth begins the poem with an simple image. A useful technique to introduce the physical setting of the poem.
The little hedgerow birds,
That peck along the roads, regard him not. He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression: every limb,
The image of this man walking and the birds not paying him any mind, not caring about his presence, is very effective in beginning to create the character’s personality. This is not unlikely for Wordsworth to develop the personality of the characters in his poems with a minimal amount of words and although it is not always possible to decipher whether or not this is intentional, it is none the less effective in turning the poem into something more personal for the reader. Even Wordsworth’s word ch...
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