Excerpt from The prelude Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Excerpt from The prelude Deck (13)
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“The cottage windows through the twilight blaz’d”


—> Bright light of cottage echo the setting sun, creating a sense of light and warmth
—> cottage emphasises naturalism, cosiness and warmth, twilight (between night and day) connotes obscurity


“I heeded not the summons: -happy time”


—> spent lots of time outside, loves nature, wants to prolong the day (youthful enthusiasm and excitement)
—> suggestive of a personal revolt against the perceived tyranny of the domestic sphere, with feelings of triumph resulting from the ability to resist the strongly felt ‘summons’ and reject a mundane life of restriction indoors.


“For all of us; to me

It was a time of Rapture: clear and loud


—> Caesura creates pauses mid-line suggesting how the narrator is breathless and excited at the sight of nature
—> “time of rapture”
divine moment, roar of excitement, most extreme type of joy/ evoking his feelings of intense joy and euphoria - an intensity which suggests he feels connected to nature on a spiritual level.


‘I wheel’d about’


—>Emphasise on narrator is fast, energetic and excitable

—> energetic verb: convey the pace and physical exuberance of their games.


Proud and exulting, like an untir’d horse


—> Proud highlights the narrators confident and carefree attitudes in the winter
The simile untir’d horse associates the narrator with strength, youthful energy and nature
simile: to highlight his feelings of liberation and independence, echoing his earlier pride in resisting the ‘summons’ of domesticity.


We hiss’d along the polish’d ice


—> Sibilance Created the sound of ice skating
—> immersively recreates the sound of the blades on the ice, bringing to life the vivid and joyous image of the children at play in the mind of the reader. This also demonstrates how easily Wordsworth was able to recall this childhood memory, emphasising the formative impact his powerful affinity with the natural world has had on him.

–> The immediacy and intensity of his childhood experience reflects the Romantic ideal of childhood as a state of innocence and closeness to nature, with the speaker and his friends blissfully revelling in the delights of nature, oblivious to the potential risk of ice skating on a frozen lake or the repeated references to the passing of time in the poem, which foreshadow the inevitable end of their childhoods.


Meanwhile, the precipices rang aloud


—> Turning point point (Volta) signals the shift from personal experience to nature, highlighting how nature is set apart from humans


an alien sound’

Of melancholy, not unnoticed,


—> ominous sounding/ perhaps symbolic of his growing awareness of the extreme natural forces of life and death and the overwhelming power of nature.
–> caesura creates a longed paced sentence, creating a more reflective tone



Eastward, were sparkling clear”


—> celestial imagery could suggest how as Wordsworth grew up, although he transitioned away from his liberated joy with nature, he became increasingly aware of Nature’s beauty and the sublime


‘Orange sky of evening died away’


—> perhaps symbolic of the fading of irrepressible childish joy and the inevitable transition from childhood to adulthood


Form and structure


1st person narrative as the narrator looks back at his childhood (makes it personal and his childhood is also idyllic: pleasing and picturesque)
blank verse + enjambment =regular rhythm, a natural speech

focus from the fun of children (light and carefree) into a more serious tone (greater awareness for nature)

monosyllabic short verbs such as flew increase pace (reflects speed of movements and youthful energy)


good old context:


Epic form: Wordsworth uses the epic form, but instead of a describing a heroic journey, many of the events he describes are quite ordinary, enabling his to celebrate to beauty and wonders of the natural world and elevate these to epic status.

Autobiographical: The excerpt is taken from a much greater work, which traces Wordsworth’s life and experiences and was published after his death. The poem is autobiographical and is therefore nostalgic and reminiscent in tone.

Spots of time: Wordsworth believed that in our lives there are special moments or experiences (he called them “spots of time”) where we can go beyond normal reality and appreciate the wider world of nature. In years to come such “spots of time” when recalled can help us get through difficult times. He believed that nature could almost act as a parent or teacher, in influencing our feelings and behaviour.

Esthwaite, a small lake, is near Hawkshead, and may be where the young William learned to


epic form:


Appreciation for nature:

This is further conveyed through his decision to elevate the status of nature through his use of the epic form, which traditionally deals with the extraordinary and superhuman. By using the epic form, Wordsworth emphasises that nature is worth of celebration and awe, in spite of the fact it is often ignored and under appreciated.