Study Help Essay Questions


1. What is Wordsworth's attitude toward nature? Does it undergo a significant change in the course of The Prelude? If so, how? (Books 1, 2, 8, 12, 13)

2. What was Wordsworth's feeling for history in general? What was his attitude toward the French Revolution? Does it undergo a change during the course of The Prelude? How did he feel about England's actions toward France? How did he react to Napoleon? (Books 6, 8-11, 13)

3. What does Wordsworth think of humanity? What is his opinion of society? How much do you think this was influenced by his unsettled childhood? Is his extreme view justified? (Books 1-3, 7, 8, 11, 13)

4. What does Wordsworth think of traditional education? What suggestions does he make for improving it? (Books 1, 3, 5, 8)

5. What is the role of a poet? How does a poet fulfill his role? (Books 1, 5, 7, 12, 14)

6. How does Wordsworth regard beauty? What is the function of beauty according to Wordsworth? (Books 1, 7, 8)

7. What, in your opinion, constitutes progress in Wordsworth's view? How does this differ from the view of the average person? (Books 2, 3)

8. Discuss Wordsworth's theory of poetry. How does this compare with traditional views?

9. What does Wordsworth mean by imagination? Is it comparable to fancy? (Books 8, 12-14)

10. Summarize Wordsworth's experiences at Cambridge. Was he happy there? How did he react to the teaching there? Was he a good student? (Books 3, 6)

11. How does Wordsworth interpret his dream of an encounter with the Bedouin? (Book 5)

12. How did Wordsworth occupy himself during his summer vacations? Were they profitable to him in the long run? (Books 5, 6)

13. What did Wordsworth think of London? How does he describe it? Did it live up to the image he had of it? How did he spend his time there? (Books 7, 8)

14. What are Wordsworth's feelings about the English character? Do his own ideas reflect his English background? In the last analysis, is he proud to be English? (Book 10)

15. What did Wordsworth think of the theater? (Book 7)

16. Wordsworth uses the term "love" in a larger sense. What does he mean by it? (Books 2, 14)

17. What was the significance of the tale of Vaudracour and Julia in connection with Wordsworth's life? What was its significance politically? Book 9)

18. What was Wordsworth's experience with Godwinian rationalism? (Books 11, 12)

19. What does Wordsworth think of books? (Books 5, 13)

20. Do you think calling Wordsworth a pantheist is a fair appraisal of his religious position? Did his religion change throughout his life? (Books 5, 8, 12-14)

21. How did The Prelude fit into Wordsworth's scheme for his life's work? What became of the scheme?

22. What characteristics of The Prelude show that it is correctly classified in the romantic period of English literature?

23. What is the literary form of The Prelude? Describe its texture. Give some of its motivational ideas. Has it any unity? What are some of its stylistic faults?

24. Are Wordsworth's ideas valid for contemporary society? What can we learn of value from his ideas?