A Moste Manly Missive Essay

2061 WordsApr 10, 20129 Pages
A Moste Manly Missive In his poem “Carrion Comfort,” Gerard Manly Hopkins tells us about a time in his life filled with trials and tribulations. He describes, in no uncertain terms, the extent of his absolute abjection and confusion, using dejected diction to profoundly convey his desperation; stylistic devices such as alliteration to draw attention to key points; and syntax to properly organize his anguish. About halfway through the poem, Hopkins comes to the conclusion that it was all a test by God, and uses those same elements to paint the other side of his emotional spectrum, by praising God for bringing him joy. The first octave of the poem is filled with quite depressing locution, which Hopkins uses to create a tone of sorrow. He opens his soliloquy with a declaration against “Despair” that he will not “carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee.” (line 1). Already, Hopkins has set the mood for the poem, by his usage of the word “carrion.” Carrion refers to the decaying bodies of dead animals, and evokes the image of crows and vultures, which in turn are commonly known as symbols of death. Carrion comfort, therefore, speaks about finding comfort within death. Hopkins compares himself to these harbingers of death, saying that he could find an end to his suffering through dying, and yet immediately decides against this by stating that he will not “feast on thee,” for to do so would be akin to “untwist[ing]—slack they may be—these last strands of man / In me.” (lines 2-3). Hopkins has been backed, figuratively, into a corner, left with no way out. Rather than give in to the despair, he chooses instead to save what last shred of humanity he has left and keep at least a vestige of his former pride. Rather than wallow in his misery, he decides that “I can; can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be” (lines 3-4). Here, he is presenting a list of

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