Study Guide

Dejection: An Ode Man and the Natural World

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Man and the Natural World

What's so depressing about nature? Unless it's being covered in oil, burnt up in a forest fire, or overrun with rampaging bears, most of us find the natural world a soothing and relaxing place to be. Not our speaker, though. He's alternatively numb to natural beauty and tormented by ferocious storms. In that aspect, though, "Dejection: an Ode" carries forward the Romantic notion of Nature as a place that both influences and reflects human emotions—both good and bad. In our speaker's case, sadly, that's mainly the bad.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. In what ways does the speaker's mood influence his view of his surroundings?
  2. What positive aspects of nature are noted in the poem?
  3. What is the role of the Aeolian lute metaphor in this poem?
  4. The speaker claims that human emotion influences the way we view Nature. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The speaker is right on. The way we view the natural world is totally informed by our emotional states.

It's a nice idea there, speaker, but Nature is not influenced by our emotions. It just is.

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