Both selections brought light to the loss of fundamental, simple principles in society that are being replaced with constant dissatisfaction and scrutiny in an effort to capture modernity in a fast paced and foreword moving society, in my opinion.
“Dover Beach” started with a calm and simple landscape that becomes challenged by philosophical thought that is soon followed by human misery. The last stanza highlighted how in this effort to keep up in a changing world has damaged the familiarity and happiness that was once present. He states, “for the world, which seems to lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new, hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain”. What was once enough and sweet is no longer because of the demand of modernity.
The same ideas were expressed in “Culture and Anarchy”. He points out, “but there is of culture another view, in which not solely the scientific passion, the sheer desire to see things as they are, natural and proper in an intelligent being, appears as the ground of it” (1596). The focus on science in a modern world has neglected the natural satisfaction that is present in unquestionable nature. He further provides the solution to that problem, “everywhere we see the beginnings of confusion, and we want a clue to some sound order…by going back upon the actual instincts and forces which rule our life, seeing them as they really are, connecting them with other instincts and forces…” (1601). The movement towards finding more scientific meaning in life in this concept of what is modern and socially acceptable is overshadowing the natural and simple concept of life.
I think that both pieces showed how the movement towards modernity has been counterproductive in that it neglects the basic fundamentals of society and what is right.