The Prelude and Storm on the Island - Power of Nature Essay

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RaA64
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I wrote an essay on the power of nature (AQA). What do you guys think I will get out of 30 marks?

Compare how poets present the power of nature in The Prelude and one other poem. (30 marks)

Both the Prelude and Storm on the Island are concerned with the overwhelming power of nature and its enormity. The Prelude was written by William Wordsworth, an early romantic poet, who was interested in social and political order and the power of nature, which is reflected in the Prelude, a poem that was influenced by Milton. The Prelude is a philosophical poem characterised by fear, whereas Storm on the Island illustrates uniform identity in the adversity of the “fear” of nature, set in a remote community on an island during a harsh storm, similar to those experienced by many people living in the extreme parts of Ireland.

The power of nature in the Prelude is related to power concerning the individual, whereas Storm on the Island is more about how a community is united and “prepared” to deal with the power of nature. The phrase “we just sit tights” uses the pronoun “we” but also the intensifier “just”. This suggests that the situation seems desperate and perhaps something that has happened so many times that they know what will happen. Heaney’s use of the adjective “tight” illustrates the collectiveness of the people as they join together as a means of protection because they are not naïve and recognise the sheer power of nature. However, in the Prelude, the protagonist is presented as a child and is on his own at the hands of nature, reinforced by the fact he believes that he can ride the “elfin pinnace” in an “unswerving line”. This portrays that he doesn’t recognise the power of the “huge and mighty forms”, and the way in which man exaggerates their power, or alternatively the way in which nature transforms crude, man-made things. This is in complete contrast to the community in Storm on the Island, who have built their “houses squat” to withstand the “gale”, reflecting the notion that they are protecting themselves from nature, but ultimately nature is more powerful than them and will destroy this. Therefore, the persona in the Prelude needs to be taught a lesson by nature, whereas the community in Storm in the Island recognise the power of nature but are still affected by it, as nothing can stop nature.

Both poems are written in one long stanza with long sentences, reflecting the overwhelming situation the protagonist in the Prelude and community in Storm on the Island find themselves in, as well as how man is isolated by nature. In the Prelude, the protagonist starts off confident and positive, believing he is in total control, engaging with this idyllic setting where there is “sparkling light”. This forms a calm, serene and peaceful atmosphere. The reader can infer from this that nature is lulling the child into a false sense of security, and so will be taught a lesson by nature and put back in his place. In contrast, in Heaney’s poem there is “wizened earth” and there are “no stacks or stooks that can be lost”. This demonstrates that nothing can be embedded into the earth on the island as it will be destroyed by nature, again reinforcing the ideology that man is powerless due to the superiority of nature and the power it possesses. This notion of confidence possessed at the start of both poems is reflected by the fact that the community in Storm on the Island are “prepared”, but in both poems this quickly changes. In the Prelude, “when, from behind that craggy steep”, illustrates a turning point, as the protagonist recognises nature’s power. A drastic change in tone occurs here, conveyed by “black and huge” and “grim shape”. Wordsworth’s use of intimidating and frightening language to describe the nature conveys what nature is really like. The use of a simile – “like a living thing” – makes nature, and the mountain, sound like a beast that the child can’t escape from. Similarly, in Storm on the Island, “full blast” demonstrates the explosive nature of the storm. The plosive on the letter “B” has a powerful impact like the storm, and this use of gothic and sinister imagery to describe the storm illustrates the effect nature has had on the speaker in both poems. This can be portrayed by the fact that the child in the Prelude refers to the mountain as an “it”, demonstrating that nature does not have an identity or name as he has recognised the sheer power of nature. This fear is also conveyed in Storm on the Island, through Heaney’s use of sibilance on the terms “salvo”, “space, and “strange”, mirroring the sound of the storm and sounding like the spitting of the sea.

Both poems are written in blank verse, but the Prelude is written in the past tense, whereas Storm on the Island is written in the present tense. This makes the effects of the storm in the Storm on the Island seem immediate and the reader feels it is a never ending storm, reflecting the domination nature has over man who can do nothing to stop nature. The storm seems free, which is presented through this poem being written in free verse, reflecting the notion that nature is unstoppable. However, the Prelude is written in iambic pentameter. This builds up tension and anxiety, demonstrating the relentless nature of the storm. The fact that Storm on the Island is written in the first person plural portrays that everyone on the island is affected by the storm, as if speaking with one voice, whereas the Prelude is written with a very singular first person voice, whose inner thoughts are very present. “I unloosed” and “I fixed my view” all emphasize a sense of storytelling in this poem, as Wordsworth wrote the Prelude as an autobiography. The reader can infer that nature is at war with man, conveyed by the use of a military term, “bombarding”, in Storm on the Island. The speaker in the Prelude is clearly affected by the storm, physically and psychologically, demonstrated by the use of personification, “trembling oars”. Thus, the power of nature is reflected thoroughly in both poems, something the speaker in the Prelude and protagonists in Storm on the Island are clearly used to, reflected by the use of “troubled pleasure” in the Prelude and “exploding comfortably” in Storm on the Island. The use of these oxymorons reflect that they have become used to being isolated by nature, which is a “huge nothing”.

In conclusion, both poems present the power of nature thoroughly. It’s obvious to the reader that man is at war with nature. Man is powerless against nature, which is portrayed in Storm on the Island, particularly as roofing their houses with “good slate” still does nothing to protect them from the storm. Nature also teaches the child in Wordsworth’s poem, who claims he was “led by” nature, implying that it is nature’s fault. The reader can infer from this that Wordsworth’s unhappy child and living with his grandparents is reflected throughout his poem. Therefore, both poems suggest that nature is destructive, and nothing can be done to defeat nature.
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aisha.mussa
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This is great!
I would give this 27, my teacher says that the higher essays require a thesis which is referred to throughout
But this is so goodd!
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RaA64
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(Original post by aisha.mussa)
This is great!
I would give this 27, my teacher says that the higher essays require a thesis which is referred to throughout
But this is so goodd!
Thank you! Btw, what is a thesis?
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aisha.mussa
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(Original post by RaA64)
Thank you! Btw, what is a thesis?
Like a main concept or idea that it ur main idea throughout.
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RaA64
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(Original post by aisha.mussa)
Like a main concept or idea that it ur main idea throughout.
Oh ok, thanks for your help. I gave this to my teacher and she gave me full marks 30/30.
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aisha.mussa
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(Original post by RaA64)
Oh ok, thanks for your help. I gave this to my teacher and she gave me full marks 30/30.
Oh wow!
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