Romanticism and Mice

The start of the Romantic period was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that began towards the end of the 18th century.  Romantics began to develop a better relationship with nature.  Nature was looked at in a new light during the Romantic era.  Many romantics tended to see nature as something pure and uncorrupted.  The work from the Romantic period that I am deciding to write about is To A Mouse by Robert Burns.  I found the theme of nature to be very apparent in this poem.  This poem was a little challenging for me to understand at first because of the language that Burns uses to write it.  The poem is basically about the sad situation of a mouse whose home gets destroyed.  In the poem, the speaker writes about how he is sorry that “man’s dominion broke social union”.  The poem touches upon the ideas that man should not mess with or change the social order of nature, or “the circle of life”.  The fact that the mouse’s home was destroyed can be looked at as man’s fault in this poem.  After doing more research about the poem, I learned that the legend was that Burns was ploughing in a field and accidentally destroyed a mouse’s nest, which it would have needed to be able to survive the harsh winter.  Burns seems to recognize the fact that he, himself has “broken nature’s social dominion”.  Nature is romanticized in this poem through the idea of the mouse and his home.  The mouse believes in the importance of nature, just as the romantics did at that time.



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