Hello and welcome to another one of these videos in the series of five key quotations, which is going to get you to grade seven, eight and nine today as you know, we're focusing on the prelude by William Wordsworth. And my guess is that this isn't one that your teacher has spent much time on it's one that teachers don't, really like now, one of the reasons they don't really like it is because very little happens in it. So Wordsworth is a child of probably a teenager.
He steals a boat which he finds on. The lake by a willow tree, and he paddles away seeing this crag up here. And as he goes further away, instead of just seeing this crag in his perspective now changes, and he can suddenly see this massive crag, his mountain behind him, it's in the late district. And he imagines this mountain is some kind of massive disapproving presence, a giant that starts to chase him. And so he gets to about this point in the lake gets terrified and turns back and by going back, he gets this perspective again. And this. Chasing giant of a mountain disappears.
And this familiar, tiny, crag reappears, and he feels less threatened, so it's quite difficult to work out what that symbolizes, you know what the hell was that journey about. And the other thing that often frustrates teachers is I. Guess? What was fashionable at the time that Wordsworth was writing, which is this obsession with nature.
So it's, very easy to dismiss this poem as pretty boring it's about nature. Nothing much happens. It's all about the author's emotional. State big deal who cares, but actually it's about much more than that.
It is about pantheism I'll, tell you what that means in a minute it's about a person's developing sexuality. And it is possibly about incest. Now I realize these two topics sexuality and incest are quite sensitive, and so I'm going to be able to teach you to be able to write about the poem. As though it is only about pantheism. And for those of you who aren't put off by that, you can also write about it using these two words as well. If you choose, but you don't have to you get the grace ever and above simply by talking about a pantheistic interpretation.
And as usual I will take you through the phosphate, a method that guarantees you a grade seven and above, if you do it properly, starting with the form always forces the examiner to pigeonhole you at grade, seven and above because that's where it appears in the marking criteria, writing about the opening forces you to write about the author's point of view then writing about the. Ending shows how the author's point of view has changed. And along the way you're going to mention the language features every time you quote, and I will give you something about the structure that you can write as well, which is also a grade seven and above feature.
Okay, pan means everything and theism means religion, a belief in a deity. So here, what you have is the idea that God is to be found in all things. So pantheism is a celebration of nature. God is to be found in everything in nature. Rather.Then a purely Christian sense, and this links really strongly with Romanticism. So Wordsworth was a Romantic poet, possibly the most famous of the lot.
And the prelude is actually book-length it's. One long poem, one huge stanza, which he never published in his lifetime. He started writing it when he was only 28 years old, never published it.
It was deeply private and that's. Why we'll be able to read into it, lots of symbolism about sexuality and incest, which he would be reluctant to publish in his own. Lifetime so let's see his point of view at the beginning. One summer evening, led by her, I found a little boat tied to a willow tree now her here is nature. And so he imagines that nature is personified here and has led into this little boat that he's going to steal. So here he doesn't blame himself for stealing the boat. He thinks that nature has deliberately set this opportunity up in order for him to steal it.
So the stealing is a natural act that fits with what nature wants. And this is what we're. Pantheism comes in now willows are often used symbolically. So the branches of a willow hang down. You've probably heard of them called weeping willow trees. So they suggest sadness, but they also have limbs. And so they propose a body at the same time.
So this is a clue that there's going to be some element of sadness in this experience. This is contrasted with the summer setting, which is obviously symbolically happy, so he's in the late district he's at a lake. And he focuses on the horizon, which is. Quite interesting, if you think of a horizon, it looks like a straight line as you look across in the distance, you'll see a straight line, and it looks like a boundary. But actually that boundary is an illusion, because obviously you can reach that boundary and then your horizon changes. Because the earth is a sphere now Wordsworth does that deliberately because he's trying to use this symbolically to say that all the boundaries that we place on our lives are actually illusions they're, just.
Conventions, why shouldn't we do most of the things that we want to do we place boundaries on them or society does, but actually they're not real and that's. The Romantic poets view they're throwing off the idea of the Enlightenment, which was cold hard and logical and saying, well, there's so much more to life than that kind of view, let's live a new kind of life, which is focused on our experiences were everything to the Romantic poets. Then he turns his gaze again, symbolically to the sky. Where we'd normally find God, if you like symbolically in a poem, but because this is a pantheistic poem, what we have is nothing, but the Stars and the gray sky and I think the word nothing here M sighs is that God is not up there in the heaven because Christianity is another kind of boundary. Christianity is another way of saying this is what you can do. And this is what you can't do, and he's rejecting that view of the world.
We set our own morals based on our own natures. This is what he seems to be. Expressing in the poem, and so what he sees at the Stars and the sky now, the sky obviously offers unlimited possibility because it's endless, and the Stars also offer another boundary, perhaps in the form of the fates. So we often use stars symbolically to suggest our destiny.
Now, because this is an autobiographical poem about when he was a child. This could symbolize the moment in his childhood, where he's wondering to himself ease, society's boundary, something I'm going to accept am. I fated to live a. Particular kind of life or is my destiny in my own hands and is our my moral choices in my own hands, rather than society's. Well at this stage, then he makes what for society is an immoral.
Choice. He steals the boat and begins to row now I'm not going to go into this description here, which is full of sexual language as he rose the boat. So we can see the boat and the stealing of it as a metaphor for illicit sexual activity. He chooses to call the boat, a penis, obviously, that's a homophone for penis. But I'm, not going to take you down that route, because you probably feel uncomfortable writing about that in the exam. So instead, you need to focus on the fact that stealing the boat is symbolic of immorality doing something which society disapproves of as he has stolen. The boat I've shown you the diagram of what happens.
He suddenly sees this bigger crag up rearing its head and still growing in stature, the grim shape towered up between me and the stars. So it's now blocking out his view of the sky. That image of freedom it's also blocking out this idea of his destiny, the Stars, and it looks like it is accusing him.
So the mountain becomes a symbol of his conscience, accusing him of having committed a moral crime. So he returns the boat he returns to shore, but four days afterwards, he can't escape, the effect of what he's seen. And what he's imagined my brain worked with the dim and undetermined sense of unknown modes of being. So the unknown modes of being hint at pantheism, as though God has. Been speaking to him through nature because God is in all things in pantheism.
Well, if that interpretation is right, then God is also accusing him of acting in a way that he shouldn't. But there is a conflict there because the goddess nature led him to the boat to steal it in the first place. And so this makes him question moral choices, who decides whether something is moral or immoral. But then we come to this line of unknown modes of being which we can apply not to the pantheistic gods in. Everything, but also to his own way of being, and so he's, getting an dim understanding that he can choose to be who he wants to be, even if that goes against society's moral values or boundaries.
Well, one such boundary he can definitely cross is, he doesn't need to preserve himself to have sex only when he's married that would seem to him to be an extraordinarily narrow view of how he should behave. And if you look at his autobiography, autobiographical details, you'll, see that he was indeed sexually. Active before marriage, but you can also google this and see that he had a very interesting relationship with his sister Dorothy. And many critics believe that their relationship was, in fact, sexual well, incest is certainly an unknown mode of being for most people in society. It is its strongest taboo, but in romantic times, it wasn't.
So Lord Byron, you may have studied had an incestuous relationship with his sister. And they had a child together. Percy Shelley wrote a novel about incest. It was frowned. Upon by his publisher, but he still published it. His wife, Mary, Shelley, also wrote another novel about incest. It was a really hot topic in romantic times.
Now, I mention it, because you might be the source of reader who would like to explore the symbolism of the poem. And it does at least offer us. An explanation about why never published this poem, because he didn't want that symbolism to be understood by a wider public who would completely disapprove of the acts that he's describing. So it was only. Published by his wife after he had died, okay.
Now, let's, look at the ending. So the mountain that we've just seen described suddenly looming up in his perspective is a huge and mighty form. But now he imagines them in the plural, as though the world is full of huge and mighty forms that do not live like living men. So this is the idea that there are giants who are effectively gods, and they influence the way he thinks they move slowly through the mind by day and were trouble to my dreams. Now, this is.
Deeply personal, we don't know how they're moving through his mind, and we don't know what they trigger in his dreams. What he's actually thinking about all, we know is that these are fiercely symbolic. The mighty forms would suggest that this could be guilt, which is why his dreams are troubled. So if we take a pantheistic interpretation, what he's arguing here is that we don't need Christianity to teach us the difference between right and wrong. Actually, if we just experience nature fully nature itself, Will teach us the difference between right and wrong all we can think about it differently.
So these forms are trying to change his mind. This is why they move slowly through his mind. And there are troubles to his dreams because in his dreams, he's dreaming things that go against society's boundaries, go against society's conventions. So this would be Wordsworth, exploring his sexuality and his desires, which go against social convention. And when he's young, he can only find this sexual expression in his.
Dream state, he can't yet enact that in real life, all we can see it as a reflection of his incestuous desires for his sister, which is why the description is that do not live like living men. So living men do not practice incest it's as I said, this, huge social taboo. And yet he is contemplating it, which is what causes his dreams to be troubled. Now, it's super easy to get the top grades by talking about more than one interpretation. So you can reject any of these, but do it in writing say, why you are.
Rejecting it and that will get you higher marks as long as you say, also, why you prefer the other interpretation, which will probably be the pantheism? Okay? Well, we want to go back and check that we mentioned. Everything. We need to talk about form.
The idea that it was written in one single stanza, and that it is about freedom. And therefore, it's expressing itself freely here without any rigid form to put boundaries on it. So when we're writing about this quotation we're going to talk the lack of. Boundaries in the poem it's written in pentameter, ten syllables per line. Sometimes there I am became choked an in.
So for example, the emphasis on this one would be Shi, which will make it a trochaic line. The emphasis here would be on the first syllable of horizon, which was making our ambush line. And we can say that that form is potentially unsettling like the experience that he's describing in the poem. We've talked about the opening and how that links to pantheism all the way through we can spot. Language features. And what I've said here is that each of the highlighted quotations act. Symbolically, they are symbols.
And what I'm going to argue here is that this poem does not rely on metaphors. Similarly, in personification, you can find all those in the poem, but those are descriptive techniques describing what he sees, whereas I've picked out the quotations, which describe what he is thinking, so it's, the internal landscape in the poet's mind that's important here and not the external landscape. That he's describing, and so I'm going to tell the examiner that's, why I'm concentrating on symbol, rather than simile metaphor and personification? Well, the structure of the poem is written in free verse as we looked at it.
It was in a pentameter. So 10 syllables per line poets do that when they're trying to recreate the rhythms of natural speech, which fits with the idea that he's speaking to himself his most intimate thoughts. And remember that audience is significant. This wasn't written for others. People to read necessarily it was much more written for him to explore his own thinking in his own mind, which links with the idea of it being a very intimate and confessional poem. So there you have it, the phosphate will give you an easy way to write about this poem.
And then you'd follow exactly the same structure comparing it to the next I know, this has been quite a controversial video. I, couldn't, find a way around that really do give me your comments below and don't forget to subscribe. If you. Want more see you soon on Motown.
Dated : 09-May-2022