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Explore How Themes Develop in 'The Prelude'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate how key themes develop in 'The Prelude'. Students will be able to look at how consistent key themes are in the poem/how they change and why.

Worksheet Overview

Want to revise how key themes develop in 'Extract from 'The Prelude''?


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This activity will help you understand how Wordsworth's language choice and tone develop these key themes in the poem. In other words, what is the effect of these key themes on the reader? What exactly is Wordsworth trying to show about these key themes? First, let's identify the main themes in the poem.







Power - (This is more of an overall motif in the poem, which links all of the other themes)


This activity is designed so that you, not only identify these key themes and ideas in the poem according to the language Wordsworth uses but also explore how these themes develop in the poem. So how does Wordsworth develop one of these themes in his poem?



Here's an example of an evaluation on the theme of fear

Wordsworth uses techniques such as personification and metaphors in order to create the theme of fear, which becomes more apparent in the middle and end of the poem. Nature is personified, making it seem intimidating and daunting, especially during the climax of the memory (when the speaker sees the "huge peak"). The speaker's fear is apparent, for example, when the "trembling oars" took him back to the willow tree. Wordsworth uses this theme of fear to show the weakness of man and add to the power of nature. 


If you want to make this activity more of a revision exercise then jot these themes down. If you want to use this activity to test yourself, then go ahead and try to memorise these key themes/motifs. 

It's up to you how you want to use this activity!

Remember, it's not a race. So take your time with each step! 


You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples. These quotations are for reference only.

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