Fathers who fail their children : a study of selected poems by William Wordsworth.

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Davis, Oliver
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Middle Tennessee State University
In his poems William Wordsworth is a close student of human beings and their relationships with one another. He believes that people nurture virtue by simplicity of living, closeness to nature, economic independence, and family affection. He demonstrates deep compassion for those who become victims in a troubled world. He tries with a nearly religious zeal to evolve an all-embracing poetics, one that could be meaningful and helpful to mankind. The object of this dissertation is to examine a selection of poems by William Wordsworth in which the poet, with a profound humanitarianism, portrays a succession of fathers who, in various ways, fail their children.
Chapter 1, "Introduction," offers statements by Wordsworth concerning the purpose for his works, presents typical comments made about Wordsworth by critics past and present, relates the purposes and histories of the poems to be analyzed in this study, and presents general critical interpretations of them.
Chapter 2, "A Series of Deviant Fathers," considers the deficiencies of fathers and father substitutes in the following poems: "The Thorn," Peter Bell, Descriptive Sketches, "The Two Thieves," "Andrew Jones," "Anecdote for Fathers," "To the Sons of Burns," The Brothers, "Lucy Gray," and "The Last of the Flock.".
Chapter 3, "Fanaticism in the Father in The White Doe of Rylstone," depicts a father who, through his lack of judgment and his obsessive behavior, destroys his family of nine sons and a daughter.
Chapter 4, "Parental Devotion and the Love for Lineal Property in Michael," shows a tragic struggle between a man's love for his inherited property and his love for his son. One result of this conflict is the loss and destruction of the son.
Chapter 5, "Conclusion," offers a brief summary and overview of the preceding chapters.