Depression In Hopkins' Sonnets Of Desolation

1192 words - 5 pages

Depression in Hopkins' Sonnets of Desolation  

 
   Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was, first and foremost, a man of the cloth. He seems to have set his gifts in musical composition, drawing, and poetry at a distant second to his ecclesiastical duties for most of his life, causing him to experience terrible bouts of depression. Hopkins poured out this depression in what are known as the Sonnets of Desolation, including "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day," "Not, I'll carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee," and "No Worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief." In his 1970 essay entitled "The Dark Night of the Soul," Paul L. Mariani tells us that "while [Hopkins' friend Robert] Bridges thought that Carrion Comfort was probably the sonnet Hopkins told him in May was written in blood," No worst, there is none was probably meant" (59). "No Worst" seems to be set rather firmly in the lowest valley of that depression, and the cumulative effect of unrealized professional goals, political visions, and artistic skills contributed to its construction. The very finality of the phrasing Hopkins chose to open the sonnet with brook no argument; things can get no worse.

 

 

Part of this despair sprung from Hopkins' abstinence from writing. He was a Jesuit who converted to Catholicism in 1866. Due to his religious beliefs, he attempted to deny his talents; he felt that the level of pleasure he derived through poetic expression approached the sinful and "burned his youthful verses, determining 'to write no more, as not belonging to my profession'" (Britannica 1). Yet Hopkins seems to have been drawn uncontrollably to poetry. By 1875 he had begun to write again; stirred by the death of five nuns who drowned at sea, he penned what was to become one of his most famous works, "The Wreck of the Deutschland." He even dedicated 1877's "The Windhover" to "Christ our Lord" in the heading line. Though all of his works contain strong religious themes, he seems never to have been able to fully reconcile his art with his job, his chosen way of life. "Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?" he asks the Virgin Mary, but it seems he is crying out to the heavens for succor yet at the same time utilizing his poetic talent to soothe and comfort himself through emotional expression (No Worst, line 11).

 

Another important factor in Hopkins' depression is that he was not successful as a priest. According to Mariani, "there is no hard evidence that Hopkins ever felt he had been the triggering action for even one convert. Yet conversions are what he wished for his whole life" (54). In the poem "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day," it is clear that, perhaps as a result of this failure (and in his view, coupled with his artistic indulgences,) Hopkins feels distanced from and powerless to communicate with God: "And my lament/ Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent/ To dearest him that lives alas! away" (line 6). Here...

Find Another Essay On Depression in Hopkins' Sonnets of Desolation

Attitude and Appreciation of the Natural World in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poetry

1822 words - 7 pages Attitude and Appreciation of the Natural World in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poetry The simple beauty of nature is an aspect many of us take for granted in our everyday lives - the endearing sounds of birds welcoming another day and the powerful gush of a waterfall being some examples of these. But there are those individuals who have endeavoured to fully comprehend the marvellous complexity of...

The great depression in terms of macroeconomics

3577 words - 14 pages The Great Depression: When Great Despair Brings Great KnowledgeThe United States was built on an idea that sober means creates sober measures. But what happens when those moderate times turn into trying times with drastic complications? The Great Depression was the worst economic slump in United States history, but by no means the only depression that our nation as endured. This depression is arguably one of the most misunderstood events in...

How does Shakespeare explore different representations of love in Romeo and Juliet and in a selection of his sonnets

1370 words - 5 pages How does Shakespeare explore different representations of love in Romeo and Juliet and in a selection of his sonnets The idea of endless love; "till death do us a part" is evident in Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. His characters, known for their deep infatuation with one another have turned into world renowned heroes and heroines and their idea of love has turned into a international phenomena. Shakespeare uses the relationships of...

Depression in "In Speaking of Sadness" by Karp

3006 words - 12 pages Depression in "In Speaking of Sadness" by Karp "Depression can be devastating, leading to family breakups, loss of employment, even suicide." Depression is a national problem, engulfing some ten to fifteen million Americans within its bitter grasp. In Speaking of sadness, Karp captures the human face of this widespread affliction as he brings forth his own experience and that of others in a heart felt, personal work. Speaking of...

Participating in Sports Helps to Reduce the Levels of Depression

1256 words - 5 pages In the world, many people are sad and depressed and just don’t feel the need to do anything at all other than sulk and wish they were dead, this is not the way someone should live there should be some way to take someone out of this depressive state or to keep someone from ever reaching it but what? The answer is organized sports and their ability to kick start hormones in the body and allow for a new sense of happiness within the body. To find...

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Depression

2447 words - 10 pages Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Depression Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a method of correcting invalid thought patterns to a more positive view of the person and their place in their world. Some people do not believe that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a real treatment for depression, claiming it is a form of positive thinking ("The Daily Mail," 2009). On the opposite end of the spectrum, others argue that Cognitive...

The Great Depression of the 1930s in Canada

1417 words - 6 pages The Great Depression of the 1930s in Canada The Great Depression of the 1930's is a benchmark for all depressions and recessions in the past and in the future. In the booklet "The Great Depression of the 1930s in Canada" , Michiel Horn gives an intellectual dissection of the events that occurred during the Great Depression. Michiel Horn's approach leaves the reader with a foul taste for the Dirty Thirties. This essay will summarize Michiel...

The Growing Problem of Teenage Depression in Today's Society

1941 words - 8 pages The Growing Problem of Teenage Depression in Today's Society Teenage depression is a growing problem in today's society and is often a major contributing factor for a multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind these statistics because the young people involved come from all...

The causative role of stress in depression: Gender diffences

5498 words - 22 pages IntroductionSince the 1960's there has been a large volume of systematic research on the role of life events in psychiatric disorder. The life event literature now clearly indicates that the risk of depression is considerably increased following stressful life events. Type of life event is only weakly related to type of disorder. Those events, which are more generally stressful, are also more likely to produce disorder. Some disorders are more...

Impact of Great Depression on International Relations in the 1930s

1170 words - 5 pages Impact of Great Depression on International Relations in the 1930s In the early 1920s the Great Depression hit. The chaos caused by the First World War was the main reason for the Great Depression. The USA had lent large amounts of money to other countries to help with their damages from the war. The loans that the USA made helped the countries to recover trade. Many countries tried to protect their industries by ...

Causes and Effects of The Great Depression in America

3738 words - 15 pages Few Americans in the first months of 1929 saw any reason to question the strengthand stability of the nation's economy. Most agreed with their new president that thebooming prosperity of the years just past would not only continue but increase, and thatdramatic social progress would follow in its wake. 'We in America today,' HerbertHoover had proclaimed in August 1928, 'are nearer to the final triumph over poverty thanever before in the history...

Similar Essays

Faith And Doubt In The Poetry Of Gerard Manley Hopkins

1621 words - 6 pages Gerard Manley Hopkins had eight siblings and was born of Manley and Catherine Smith Hopkins. His parents were Anglicans that followed the Catholic tradition in sacraments and papacy. By instilling the theological values, faith and morals into Gerard, he became heavily influenced by his family. His parents taught him, as well as their other children to love God. Gerard guaranteed his mother that he would strengthen his connection with God and...

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...

Discussion Of Common Themes In Sonnets 65, 104 And 116

1047 words - 4 pages Shakespeare is generally regarded as one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived who also had great skill in creating beautifully poignant poetry. His great masterpieces include the 154 sonnets written in 16th century England. Although it is unknown if he wrote these sonnets in the order that they are numbered, it is recognised that the majority of the first 126 sonnets were addressed to the Earl of Southampton, his patron and social superior....

Necessity Of Love In Browning´S Sonnets From The Portuguese

1174 words - 5 pages Love is the ubiquitous force that drives all people in life. If people did not want, give, or receive love, they would never experience life because it is the force that completes a person. Although it often seems absent, people constantly strive for this ever-present force as a means of acceptance. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is an influential poet who describes the necessity of love in her book of poems Sonnets from the Portuguese. In her...