I have chosen to compare “Expostulation and Reply” and “The Tables Turned”. William Wordsworth wrote both of these poems during the Romantic Period, which stretched from C1789 to 1840.
This period was when the great philosophers of Europe placed emphasis on ordered thinking. Everything during this period had to have a logical reason to why something happens. Romanticism is a way of thinking that was expressed through Art, music, art, architecture and literature. Romanticists were concerned with feeling emotion over logic and an idealisation of nature.
The title of the poem, “Expostulation and Reply” suggests exactly what is written and that there is no hidden meaning. The title implies that one person is giving a gentle protest or a gentle telling off and the reply to this reasoning. “The Tables Turned” is very much the same as this, the title of poem is also very clear and it suggests that the situation has reversed. There is also a subtitle on the poem “The Tables Turned”.
“An evening scene, on the same subject”In the subtitle, it even states that this poem is of the same topic that illustrates a definite pairing between the two poems.”Expostulation and Reply” is made up of eight stanzas with each containing four lines and there is a pivotal stanza that stands out by itself in the middle. This is because the first part of the poem is a conversation, then no one speaks, which is the pivotal stanza then the conversation carries on for the end of the poem. The structure of “The Tables Turned” is similar to “Expostulation and Reply” as it is made up of eight stanzas and four lines, but this time there is no pivotal stanza as all the way through the poem it is just William speaking.
The structures of both poems are very similar as they are intended for the same audience. It is also more evidence that the poems are paired together.All Wordsworth’s poems are accessible for anyone, which is why the language is not particularly hard. The language is clear, simple and it is straight to the point.
This is so it is very readable and both poems are not particularly long, so people are not put off by the poem. This goes back to the point where Wordsworth wanted everything simple, uncomplicated and accessible by everyone. Wordsworth believes that nature can enrich the mind and I think that the main point which runs through both of the poems is that nature can teach you just as much as books and scientific experiments.The poem, “Expostulation and Reply” is a poem in the form of a dialogue as it is a conversation between two characters; Matthew and William.
This is unusual for a poem to be made up of dialogue, also, the poem “The Tables Turned” proceeds the poem “Expostulation and Reply”, which surprised me. With the second poem, it is not a dialogue but a monologue, which means that the poem is about William’s reply to the conversation in the previous poem. Matthew speaks in the first part of the poem, he speaks in a very critical manner to William, and he is also very inquisitive by starting the poem by asking a question with a faultfinding manner.”Why William, on that old grey stone”This very questioning and the accusation of William having a lack of desire to learn from books, continues throughout Matthew’s part of the dialogue.
As Matthew really cannot understand how William can sit around all day and look at his surroundings.In “The Tables Turned”, William’s manner is very urgent in trying to reply Matthew. Although William does also reply in “Expostulation and Reply” but not too the extent he does in “The Tables Turned”.”Up! Up!”This quote is repeated to emphasise the urgency of it all, as William wants to portray his opinions of nature.
What is interesting is that “Up! Up!” is also used in “Expostulation and Reply” by Matthew. The exclamation marks show the urgency and an abruptness, it is like William is repeating this deliberately to place pressure on Matthew, as now everything is reversed and the tables are turned!The tone of “Expostulation and Reply” is very critical to start with and it tries to be persuasive through the use of emotive language throughout the poem. It is shown clearly that Matthew is irritated through the use of emotive language that William does not want to know the scientific reasons why a tree is there. It then changes when William replies, as he is trying to defend himself, putting forward his argument.
The tones of both poems are very similar, as even in “The Tables Turned”, William is being very critical of Matthew as he does not see the need to have a reason for everything in life and that scientific facts are not needed to appreciate nature.”That we can feed this minds impress,In a wise passiveness”The word passive is the opposite of active, which means that William wants everyone to receive the knowledge rather than having to seek knowledge.William’s views of nature go against what we now call the “Age of Reason”, as most people wanted to know a reason for everything.In both poems, the senses are used.
In particular, it is William that uses the senses in both poems, this is from “Expostulation and Reply”, where many of the senses are used.”The eye cannot chuse but see,We cannot bid the ear be still;Our bodies feel, where’er they be,Against, or with our will.”The use of senses signifies nature. It signifies that in nature you can see, touch, hear and sometimes taste it.
William is trying to say that it is beyond our control and that it is natural within us. It is interesting that throughout the poem “The Tables Turned” there is a repetition of “Sweet”, which implies, taste, which is a sense, this is probably a nice taste that William associates with nature. The word sweet is only mentioned in “Expostulation and Reply” once, but this is also a pleasant image.” When life was sweet.
…”The use of senses supports that Wordsworth has a positive relationship with nature.
It also says how nature can be appreciated by the whole of us and not just by our minds.The use of personification is used in both poems to describe nature. It is interesting that the world is described as “she””She has a world of ready wealth”The sun is also personified, in both cases, it shows that here, Wordworth things as light being knowledge, saying that our eyes are open to knowledge and it is up to us to take that knowledge.The use of emotive language in the poem “The Tables Turned” is interesting as William portrays the image of murder to feed inquisitive minds of that particular period, in which he thinks is wrong.
‘We murder to dissect”.The words used are very strong and emotive and he is saying about the desire to cut things up intentionally to find out why it is there. William is using very emotive language here to view his point.It is obvious through both poems that Wordsworth enjoys nature and he wants everyone to appreciate it.
In the first poem, Wordsworth has written it to show both sides of the story through the use of the two characters, Matthew and William. Matthew is the character in who is a typical person from the romantic period wanting to know why everything there. William is the character that does not want to know a reason for everything, and is there to appreciate nature; he does this in the second poem and in the second half of “Expostulation and Reply”.