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Allusions To God In The Poetry Of Gerard Manley Hopkins

1765 words - 7 pages

Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Victorian poet who frequently utilized symbols to demonstrate how God is evident in all living things. His allusions to God are evident in such works as: “Pied Beauty”, “Spring”, “The Windhover”, and “God’s Grandeur”. The purpose of this research is to examine the way in which Hopkins uses his terms inscape and instress to illustrate these allusions to God. Hopkins’s poetry demonstrates to the readers that seeing beyond the physical appearance of things, and recognizing God’s touch on all things allows for a deeper sense of appreciation, and makes them more beautiful. Hopkins’s poems are expressive of his view of nature and the correlating relationship between himself and God, and this pattern is obvious throughout his work.
To understand the driving force behind Hopkins’s poetry, one must understand his terms inscape and instress. Inscape is knowing that each one of us is unique, and that uniqueness comes from God. Human beings, the most unique Godly creation, can see the individuality and beauty in all other Godly creations or beings. The actual experience of recognizing this beauty and specialness in other creations is known as instress. Hopkins frequently used nature to illustrate inscape and instress. His poems about nature show that what is unique and different about each creation, is also similar, in that each being and creation is created by God. Humans in fact, though each a unique individual, are all reflections of the love and glory of our heavenly Father, and the sacrifice of Christ our Lord. Therefore, even though we are all different, we are all linked by our creator. Christ is in us all. (Greenblatt 1547)
Hopkins’s poetry supports his belief of a God-centered view of creation. (Hutchinson 225) He illustrates how the tiniest detail, almost insignificant to the human eye, each mark, and every little “colour” is placed with purpose by God. When we notice those tiny details we are acknowledging God’s presence. In that presence, all creation is reminded of Christ, the supreme glorification of God. That attention to detail is evident in Hopkins’s poem “Pied Beauty”, which begins: “Glory be to God for dappled things-/For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;”, however, he is not just acknowledging the outward beauty of the sky, but how glorious each and every color and spot is, because it is placed precisely where it ought to be. “Pied Beauty” reads as a glorification of nature and the colors that make it up. The colors not only hold significance due to the importance of whom placed them, but the colors are themselves a creation upon a creation. A being is not just a being, but it is made up of individual, beautiful, and unique parts. Hopkins again demonstrates, “For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim/Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings” (2-3), each creation, has an energy that is built into its design. The trout is special and unique because of each speckle and the finch...

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