Compare How the Relationship Between Man and Nature Is Shown Essay

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It is clear to see in both below the green corrie and in the prelude that Norman MacCaig and William Wordsworth both show a strong relationship between man and nature. In below the green corrie we see the narrator describe his experience of coming down a Scottish mountain range; he describes the mountains as highwaymen, pirates and bandits which makes nature more animated and entertains the reader, he also appears to take riches from the mountain.

In the prelude we see a more traditional view on nature as being more controlling over man unlike in below the green corrie where it appears that the narrator takes away from the mountain, the language used by the narrator is more formal which proves to the reader that the narrator realises towards the end of the extract that nature is dominant over man.

We see in the prelude that nature changes the narrator and that he is forced to realise that nature is more powerful than him; this extract definitely shows the reader that we haven’t controlled nature as humanity claims as the narrator thought at the beginning of the extract. At first Wordsworth comes across as being naive and confident as he first sets across the lake “It was an act of stealth/And troubled pleasure”. But slowly towards the end his upbeat mood changes to fear as he realises that nature is more powerful and that “No familiar shapes/Remained, no pleasant images of trees”.

The reader can notice a sense of rites of passage of the narrator as he goes from a naive ‘boy’ to a more understanding ‘man’. His journey across the lake is a metaphor for life, as he is forced to overcome obstacles just like any of us in life which is why many would relate to this. There is also a sense of guilt in this poem as the narrator feels he is perhaps punished by nature for his actions at the start of the poem by almost underestimating the power and relentlessness of nature.

However, in below the green corrie unlike the prelude where the narrator changes during the experience, Norman MacCaig does not show as much of a change like in the prelude where there is a shift in the narrator’s mood but there is a constant mood of pleasure in the experience and his eyes are opened to the beauty of nature. You can see that from the beginning though, that nature is more threatening which is a contrast from the prelude where it is at the end that the description of nature is more threatening in the prelude. In the first stanza, Norman

MacCaig describes the mountains as bandits, pirates and highwaymen which as well as making them seem threating to the reader as these characters are thought to take from others, the personification of the mountains animates the landscape and entertains the reader. In the second stanza however, there is a change in dynamic as whereas in the first stanza nature was described as the taker, it is the narrator who takes from the mountain, “But it was they who stood and delivered” MacCaig uses cliches from the language typically used to describe bandits to mock the traditions of writing poetry about nature.

Like in the prelude where the narrator seems to change from a boy to a man, in below the green corrie, the narrator feels as if he has made a change from boy to man as he “clambered downhill” down the mountain. Nature is often referred to as having a female identity, this is apparent in the prelude, “One summer evening (led by her)” nature is depicted as if it were a seductive woman, leading the narrator into wrongdoing, in this case, stealing a boat.

This is related to the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible where Eve tempts Adam into wrongdoing, in that case, eating off the forbidden tree of knowledge. Norman MacCaig doesn’t explicitly describe/refer to the mountains as being masculine although the poem does slightly go against the tradition of nature being female, he describes the mountains as pirates and highwaymen who are predominantly thought as being men and adds to the thought of nature being all mighty and powerful.

As well as the mountains being ‘manly’, it is possible that MacCaig is revealing that he feels more masculine after surviving his encounter with the “marvellous prowlers”, “that swashbuckling mountain”. Below the green corrie is a poem that is more about ‘man and nature’ compared to the prelude where it is about ‘humanity and nature’.

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