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Quotes

Quote #1

The World is too much with us, late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers (1-2)

The speaker describes the harmful effects of a consumer society with words that involve some kind of measurement, such as "Late and soon," "getting and spending," and "too much." This kind of language reminds us of the kinds of accounting and measuring we associate with an industrialized, consumer society, and implies that even the speaker isn't immune to the effects of the consumerism he criticizes.

Quote #2

Little we see in Nature that is ours (3)

The consumer culture of modernity has taught us to see things as commodities, as things we can potentially "get" or acquire. The passage suggests that perhaps we see nothing in nature that is ours because we're looking at it the wrong way; we're looking at it as a possession rather than a part of our humanity.

Quote #3

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! (4)

The speaker associates modernity with the loss of our ability to feel; in exchange for all the new markets and shops where we can "get and spend," we have handed over our "hearts," that universal symbol for the feelings. We've traded sensibility for objects.

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