A poem The World is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth is a brilliant illustration of the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. The poet makes the emphasis on moral consequences of becoming more powerful and progressive. As a romantic poet, Wordsworth worries about natural possessions of a man, which become weaker after the Industrial Revolution. It is harmful to break the connection of the human with nature, stating the ideals of materialistic society as the most important value. The main point of the poem highlights the failure of humanity, as with the technological progress, “we lay waster our powers; – Little we see in Nature that is ours” (Wordsworth 292). Despite being a romantic poem, the work has similar theme with Ginsberg’s poem A Supermarket in California. Both poets state that an absurd striving to gain the more profits possible naturally leads to the loss of essential way of living.
In his poem, Allen Ginsberg criticizes the US lifestyle of the second half of the XX century. He makes the emphasis that contemporary America is similar to a large supermarket, which states the value of consumption the most significant for every citizen. Despite living a worthy life and possessing individual virtues, an ordinary American commits “shopping for images” (Ginsberg 338). The main point of the poem is to illustrate the modern ideals of American people, who are involved in endless shopping as the only way to survive. An image of “dreaming of the lost America” appears to be similar to the arguments of Rebecca Solnit and her essay The Wal-Mart Biennale.
Solnit makes the emphasis that the images of the country can be different. Making the connections between the contemporary art and the culture in a whole, the author highlights that the most progressive issues cannot provide the true worth of national significance. As an heiress of Wal-Mart Alice Walton decides to purchase the painting Kindred Spirits, it illustrates the meaning of art patronage today. A unique decision of Alice Walton shows that “world’s second richest woman seems more interested in archaic images of America than in the artisanry behind them” (Solnit 324). The main idea of the essay lies in the fact that neither progressive art tools, not industrial successes can substitute the cultural value of the nation and its history. Walton’s action shows that the most cutting-edge contemporary art can turn the hallowed art of the USA into a fig lead, while the true patronage can contribute to the national development and progress.
Donella Meadows’ essay Living Lightly and Inconsistently on the Land appears to be closely connected with all literary works, investigated above. The author compares the American reality of different times. A several years can change the lifestyle crucially, which the author demonstrates using her own experience. Coming back from Asia, Meadows was shocked with the number of stuff an ordinary American has and use at home. No environmental concerns make people more aware of the necessity to take care of the Universe. The main point of the essay is to show that the overwhelming role of materialist values can do harm, simplify people, and make the Earth suffer from pollution. As Meadows mentions, “After returning from India, I lived out of a sense of scarcity” (Meadows 328). It means that the most important decision a person should make is to become aware of fragile nature around humans.
A poem by Kenneth Rexroth Incarnation, the author provides a brilliant vision of the nature, similar to Wordsworth’s one. Despite being a poet of the XX century, Rexroth expresses the same love to nature as the highest virtue, as the romantic poets did. The main point of the poem is to illustrate the beauty of the nature and its immortality. The nature is the source of life as such, that is why, a person should love the nature as a dearest person. As the poet explains his vision, “this moment of fact and vision seizes immortality” (Rexroth 138). Love to the nature is similar to the process of incarnation, which a person can get. Despite an opinion that the poem has an erotic sense, it becomes vivid that the author strives to highlight the natural beauty, which is similar to human. Treating the nature as a beloved woman is a key idea of the poem. Obviously, a person should take care of a nature as of a beloved lover with sincerity and openness.
A poem by Langston Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers is similar to its theme and expressive language to Rexroth’s Incarnation. Despite being an expression of the voice of the blacks in America, the poem is focused on illustration the beauty of nature around the men. The main idea of the poem is to identify and connect the human soul with nature in general and the rivers in particular. The author states that four largest rivers provide the birth of the human civilization. Obviously, they are the symbols of freedom, independence, and wisdom, adopted through the generations. A conclusive sentence of the poem, “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” (Hughes 139) makes the emphasis on the depth of human experience, gained through the ages. Hughes makes a connection between the river and black identity, which struggle for own freedom in the USA.
The last poem Maybe Alone on My Bike by William Stafford also relates its theme to the human relationship with both nature around and technology. The main point of the poem is to show the beauty of nature, which people usually cannot see in a whole. The true interaction with nature can be achieved through riding a bike, which allows a person notice the true life of nature around. Riding a bike means listening what the mountains and lakes have to say, as Stafford describes “I listen, and the mountain lakes hear snowflakes come on those winter wings” (Stafford 141). A role of an attentive observer is the best role a human can possess, since precisely being an observer, a person can perceive the whole beauty of the world around him. The poem by Stafford can be similar to the love of nature in Hughes The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Rexroth’s Incarnation. The thematic depth can be referred to Wordsworth’s romantic concern about the dominance of material virtues in human life and its negative consequences.
In conclusion, it becomes obvious that all literary works are interesting and significant to investigate. Despite being written in different times, the poems and essays mainly point on the necessity to recognize the true essence of human life and the difference between the cultural and natural issues. The more cultural issues the humanity adopt, the less natural interaction it gets. Obviously, all authors make the emphasis on the necessity to support natural virtues and eliminate materialist values. Besides, the works criticize the contemporary image of America, which possesses the value of consumption as the only possible basis for spiritual content. From the time of Industrial Revolution, the process of technological progress has become a significant moral concern, recognized by the most outstanding thinkers and artists.