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Looking at The Environment Through an Analysis of Wordsworth's 'Nutting'

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Through reading and analysing Nutting, it is made instantly clear that Wordsworth, especially as a Romantic poet, has concerns about the preservation of nature and natural beauty in the face of mankind’s selfish and destructive nature. This is emphasised by the fact that the poem was originally supposed to be part of Wordworth’s The Prelude, showing that there is a continual theme of the admiration of nature throughout his work.

The imagery used from the very beginning of and throughout Nutting outlines Wordsworth’s adoration of nature and the beauty of the natural world. The first line of the poem is indented, giving the illusion that it has not been sculpted or made by mankind and so the reader has naturally stumbled upon it, as though it had been there the entire time. This instantly engrosses the reader in the chaotic beauty of the natural world, which is exactly the effect that Wordsworth would have wanted.

Fairytale-type imagery is used throughout the poem to paint nature as an idyllic and picturesque force that is dreamlike and arguably perfect. Nature is portrayed as heavenly when Wordsworth sets the scene as a ‘heavenly day’, and so Wordsworth’s insistence on the preservation of nature is justified when the reader witnesses how wonderful he makes it out to be. The idea of the fairytale is furthered by Wordsworth’s choice of words, such as ‘Dame’, which has connotations of knights in medieval courts – a typical aspect of a fairytale. 

Wordsworth’s admiration of the natural world is epitomised by the way that he conveys the ‘virgin scene’ of nature and its consequent connotations of innocence and purity, emphasised by the poem’s continual botanical motif. The ‘virgin scene’ is significant in the fact that it implies that this should be preserved and protected from mankind’s selfish and destructive nature. This is followed by the arguably unpredictable and unjustifiable rage of the speaker in the second half of the poem. This rage and the subsequent destruction of nature that follows is furthered by the plosive sounds and sibilance of phrases like ‘branch and bough’ and ‘stocks and stones’, painting the speaker as completely enveloped by his rage and spontaneous impulse to destroy the natural beauty that surrounds him. The pace of the lines becomes quicker, mirroring the drastic change of the speaker’s mood, and so the reader is helpless in this unexplainable destruction of nature. However, the ‘intruding sky’ that the speaker can see as a result of his recklessness towards nature shames him, and so perhaps Wordsworth is trying to dissuade anyone from treating nature similarly. 

In Wordsworth’s ‘Nutting’ and Rites of Initiation, James Pipkin writes that the poem shows ‘a dramatic and formative event’ that ‘symbolizes the end of childhood, ignorance and the profane condition’, thus emphasising Wordsworth’s overall message of the preservation of nature and the admiration of its beauty in the face of man-made destruction and malice. It is made clear that the speaker has matured and learnt a lesson from his own anger and destruction in Nutting, and thus cannot return to the innocence of childhood. Similarly, the reader is able to enjoy Wordsworth’s deliberate use of sensual and beautiful imagery whilst also taking in the overall message of the poem.


  1. Pipkin, James W., Wordsworth’s Nutting and Rites of Initiation (1978), pp.11-19. JSTOR, [Accessed 27 October 2019]
  2. Wordsworth, William. Nutting (1798) [Accessed 20 October 2019]

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Looking At The Environment Through An Analysis Of Wordsworth’s ‘Nutting’. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from
“Looking At The Environment Through An Analysis Of Wordsworth’s ‘Nutting’.” GradesFixer, 11 Apr. 2022,
Looking At The Environment Through An Analysis Of Wordsworth’s ‘Nutting’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 May 2022].
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