Summative Entry

The Nineteenth Century gives me real insights into human and social issues that are still current in the 21st century

Nineteenth Century Literature has been such a pleasant unit to explore. I have found it to be one of the most interesting and diverse periods of literature in all of history. I have journeyed through many exciting and eye-opening units during my studies at ACU, however, nothing quite compares to the magic, awe, and satirisation of the Nineteenth century.

Many of the Romantic authors we have explored such as Wordsworth, Dickens, Percy, and Coleridge, exemplify the zeitgeist of the Romantic era. These poets challenge a neoclassical way of thinking by demonstrating how we have lost our ability to connect with nature. We have given up our hearts for material possessions and other artificial evils that do not touch our inner spirit, nor bring lasting happiness. These poets argue that individuals who live in deep harmony with nature are often far more enlightened as they contain more wisdom and depth.

These aforementioned ideas explored in the Nineteenth Century unit provide insights into human and social issues that are not only witnessed during the Romantic era but are emphatically echoed in the 21st century. Today’s modern world mirrors a similar selfish, acquisitive, and atomistic society as seen in the Nineteenth Century. A world that still devotes itself to material goods by “getting and spending” anytime and anywhere, instead of allowing ourselves to be immersed in the beauty of the natural world and to really be moved by it.

I must state that though I agree with many of the ideas emphasised by Wordsworth and many other romantic poets, I am also guilty of falling into the materialism trap. It is not often I pause and reflect upon the beauteous nature around me… do you?

Thankfully, this unit has allowed me to enrich my soul by becoming more in-tune with nature. This is seen through my first blog ‘A Sea of Understanding’, which allowed me to reflect on how nature is a teacher to all those around her.  It is only when you open your mind and soul to her and be present in all her glory that you will understand her teachings and hear what she is saying.

Moreover, I continued this reflective and attuned relationship to the spirit of nature through my third blog. This entry explores how Wordsworth’s ‘The World Is Too Much With Us’ applies to the 21st Century. It allowed me to explore the parallels between the Nineteenth and the 21st Century, and I was amazed at how human and social issues that were explored in the Nineteenth century are still echoed in today’s society. As Wordsworth said, we are so involved with “getting and spending” that nature does not move us anymore. This idea is even more prevalent today, as the ability to get and spend is greater than ever thanks to the ever-increasing rate of technology.

This unit has included a myriad of entertaining literature which has not only allowed me to gain new and insightful knowledge but has also improved my skills as a writer/blogger. I have really enjoyed reading the remarkable work of my peers and receiving their helpful and genuine feedback.

This unit on Nineteenth Century literature has given me real insights into human and social issues that are still current in the 21st century. Despite the fact we still live in a world where many individuals act out of their own self-interest, where social injustice riddles societies and money is seen to be the universal language of the world, authors like Wordsworth and Blake provide alternative ways of seeing and living. As Blake himself said “I feel that a man may be happy in this world, and I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision. I see everything I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike.” Authors like Blake provided multifarious ways of living a life of fulfilment and happiness amidst the disorder and dissension.

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Image From: https://www.artstation.com/ajitkaliya

Peer Review 3- Victoria

Hi Victoria,

What an incredibly wonderful and visual letter you have written to Louisa.

I really like your continual references to the night sky and space. This creates a sense of wonder and magic in your letter.

I like how you start your letter with “Have you noticed the moon tonight?”. It made me as the reader think, have I noticed the moon recently? Have I taken time out of my frantic day to appreciate the little wonders of the world?

Your letter includes a real visual feast for the reader to reflect upon.

I also like your inclusion of Sissy and how you describe her mind and imagination compared to Louisa. “Sissy has been to the moon, go talk to her and dream out loud together.” This is a wonderful line and in my opinion, encapsulates Sissy’s ability to wonder and imagine beautifully.

A fantastic job overall.

Well done Victoria!

https://victoriamartin.art.blog/2020/04/22/letter-to-louisa/

Blog 4- The Scholar-Gipsy

Describe a contact you have had with some marginalised group (gypsies/ circus people etc). Has it shown you the deficiencies of your own world view?

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

The aforementioned Bible passage from Genesis 1:27 states that we are all made in the image and likeliness of God, implying that no human is above another. So why is it then, that marginalisation, hate and discrimination plague our planet?

Growing up in a culturally diverse suburb, I was often surrounded by people who were classified as marginalised. These were mainly people who came to Australia for a new beginning. They shared different cultures, beliefs, stories and food. However, they all shared one thing in common.

To create a better life for themselves and their families.

Who can blame them? No matter who you are or what your background is, most people would do whatever was necessary to create the best life for those they care about.

Yet many people have the audacity to turn to these people and say “Go back to where you came from” or “Not on my land”. A land that to begin with, most likely wasn’t even theirs.

As a small child, being surround but such a vast array of cultures was magical. I ate amazing food, listened to music from all over the world and soaked up knowledge about all different cultures and religions.

No one is born a racist. This was evident through all the children from different background that played and danced together. It is when you’re uneducated, afraid and narrow minded that your superiority of self begins to form.

As a young adult now, my world view remains fairly similar. All cultures should be accepted and celebrated. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all came from the same culture? We would eat the same food, share the same stories and wear the same thing.

What makes Australia so wonderful is that it is sprinkled with diversity. Once other people realise that this is a blessing and not a burden, the world will be a better place.

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Peer Review 2- GEORGIA

Hi Georgia,

What a truly beautiful letter you have written. To me, it was filled with a sense of wisdom, kindness, and magic.

I really loved how you focused on telling child Georgia that the important things in life are found within the natural world. Your line “You see the magnificence of the natural world, and it will be your greatest teacher if you let it” beautifully encapsulates this idea, while also echoing ideas from both ‘My heart leaps up’ and ‘The Word is too much for us’.

You also incorporate beautiful imagery in the way you explain how little Georgia looks at the world, such as the “glowing stars” and “snails climbing over dewy leaves”.

I think I was also so drawn to the letter because of the line “You will forget to be excited about animals and plants and the sky because you will be taught that other things are more important.” This saddened me because it is incredibly true, we often lose sight of what is important because society instructs us on what we should care about instead.

This is one of my favourite blogs I have ever read. Great job Georgia and I can’t wait to see what else you produce over the semester!

https://georgiahoulihan.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/19th-century-literature-blog-post-2-letter-to-my-child-self-creative/#respond

Blog 3- The World is too much with us

Does Wordsworth’s sonnet “The World is too much with us” apply in any measure to the contemporary 21st-century world?

Wordsworth’s The World is too much with us provides us with a glimpse of Wordsworth’s sense of what is wrong with the world, as well as what is wrong with our relationship to the world. Wordsworth articulates the fact that we are so consumed with our material realities that we fail to see how rich and beautiful the world around us is. We have lost that inextricable connection with nature by pining for things that do not touch our inner soul.

Wordsworth sonnet The World is too much with us most definitely applies to the 21st century. Our desire for all things materialistic is greater than ever, and this is heightened by the fact that one can never be satisfied with what they already have.

Human beings are competitive creatures, this is an evolutionary concept. We want the best of everything to increase our chances of survival. However, in the 21st century, this idea has gotten out of hand. Buying those Christian Louboutin heels or that limited-edition Dior handbag will not increase my chances of survival, however, it will make me happy…temporarily.

In his sonnet, Wordsworth states, “For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.” He says to the audience we do not need materialistic things to feel happy, we already have these amazing aspects of the natural world around us. However, we are no longer touched by them. We are so involved with “getting and spending” that nature does not move us anymore.

With the ability to get and spend anywhere at any time, Wordsworth’s sonnet The World is too much with us is more prevalent now in the 21st century than it has ever been.

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Image from: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com

Peer Review 1- NANCY

Hi Nancy,

A great start to blogging this semester. Your blog was engaging and your interpretation of ‘wise passiveness’ was vivid and entertaining to read.

I like how you began by briefly analysing Wordsworth’s ‘Expostulation and reply’ which not only links to our class content but also shows that you demonstrate a good understanding of the poem itself.

I enjoyed reading about your moment of wise passiveness. Your description of “sunbeams with rays of light shining bright amongst the clouds vibrantly contrasting against the white and grey voluminous clouds” was beautifully vivid.

My only piece of advice would be to read through your blog carefully before posting it, just to fix up any little spelling errors.

Examples:

Emotional instead of emotion

That can’t instead of what can’t

I think you have also included the word clouds once too many

Well done!

https://nancysliteratureblog.home.blog/2020/03/09/wise-passiveness/comment-page-1/?unapproved=28&moderation-hash=434cbf17123881eb18c7c88687bc776c#comment-28

Blog 2- Wise Passiveness

“Wise Passiveness”- describe a moment in your life where such a phrase might apply

Before I delve into exploring where one may experience a moment of wise passiveness, let me begin by explaining what I believe encapsulates the meaning of wise passiveness.

Firstly, Google defines wise passiveness as “a form of learning where the individual soaks in knowledge receptively, rather than aggressively to learn. It’s when one has the opportunity to receive the world.” And although wise, I believe Google’s animatronic mind and lack of emotions means that they don’t possess the best understanding of wise passiveness.

Therefore, human to human, let me share with you a bit about wise passiveness.

To me, it means that one does not have to be actively looking for things such as knowledge and understanding. Such things take time and often come to us in unexpected moments. There are in fact ways of being in touch with knowledge without pushing for it. And I believe that this knowledge can only be found when we are quiet enough and we silence our thoughts and allow the world to speak. I do love how Google defined wise passiveness as a moment when one has the opportunity to receive the world. This is rather poetic of Google, and in my opinion, true. We receive the world when we immerse ourselves in our surroundings. It’s the moments where nature teaches us things we have never thought of, lessons that perhaps no human could’ve communicated the way nature could.

A moment in my life where I experienced wise passiveness was at a park. It was a moment taught to me by nature (multiple times in fact), and it was not until I silenced myself that I was able to hear her and understand the knowledge she was imparting.

As I was walking my dog through the park, I noticed all the birds around me flying very close to the ground and often landing to eat a bug or two. As I was walking home from the park, it began to rain. At first, I did not think much of my experience at the park, nor the rain. However, a week or so later, I experienced the same thing, low flying birds eating bugs and then shortly after, rain.

I then had an epiphanic moment…

The birds were flying low because they knew the bugs would emerge to seek higher ground from the rain! I know this may not sound like much, however, I thought that this was incredible. The birds knew that when the rain was about to fall, the bugs would be searching for higher ground, and therefore it would be easier for them to find and eat them. It was not until I really paid attention to my surroundings that I was able to gain this knowledge.

This to me, defines what it means to experience wise passiveness.

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Bibliography:

http://www.irelandswildlife.com

portfolio.snc.edu 

 

Blog 1- A Sea of Understanding

Write a poem about an experience in your life in which nature was the teacher

A cloud-like foam balances on the ocean’s edge like froth in a coffee cup

I watch as birds bob up and down, the current carrying them in whatever direction it pleases

The waves that crash onto the shore creep around my ankles, gradually drawing me closer into the jaws of the ocean

As I paddle out on my board, I realise that, like the birds, I am but an inconsiderable creature in such a considerable landscape

I am now a puppet of the ocean, to be manoeuvred as she pleases

The sea begins to churn, and the waves pile higher and higher and higher

As the swell begins to build so does my fear for such an uncontrollable goddess

The temper of which sways from just a wee whisper of the wind

However so, I place my faith in the arms of mother

And as I paddle for the wave, I feel her hand upon my board, guiding me back to the sand

It was at that moment I realised the ocean was not a fearful place

But rather, a place of mutual understanding

Where respect is met with kindness and impertinence is met with fury

Like a woman demanding respect, the ocean will not answer to your negligence

But rather, she will bask in your obedience to her

You’re each other’s strengths and weaknesses

But overall, you’re child and she is mother

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