"[Carrion Comfort]" the Struggle with Faith

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“[Carrion Comfort]” the struggle with faith Malina Pelitera September 18, 2012 ENG 3351 “[Carrion Comfort]” by Hopkins is an Italian sonnet based on faith and Hopkins’ relationship with God. Hopkins was known for devoting his poetry to his love for God and the power of faith, but “[Carrion Comfort]” was part of the “terrible sonnets” (Norton anthology), uses a conflicted tone to demonstrate struggles Hopkins experiences at times in his faith. During a time of deep depression, the poet struggles to find reasoning in God’s assault by placing this time of depression in his life. This doubt in God then creates a questioning of faith, how good God is, and Hopkins’ true relationship with Him. Close to hopelessness, Hopkins has a revelation: that despair was created by God to be a learning experience, and to provide Hopkins an opportunity to grow closer to Him. “[Carrion Comfort]” uses diction, metaphors, biblical imagery, and parallelism to convey the journey of Hopkins’ own struggle to dispel doubt, thus develop a stronger relationship with God. Hopkins’ favorite form, the Petrarchan, is used in this piece to help support a time line and develop the plot. “[Carrion Comfort]” has three parts: the first stanza, the second quatrain, and the sestet. The first stanza addresses his current overwhelming despair, followed by the second quatrain, that questions the assassin as God the motivation of the attack; the sestet then answers (to the questions posed by Hopkins’ faltering faith) that God was giving a learning experience to Hopkins. The first stanza begins with line one introducing the extent of Hopkins’ despair, “Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee,” capitalizing ‘Despair’ to emphasize its power as a feeling, and symbolize the major role it plays in Hopkins’ current life. Although, the feeling is overwhelming, Hopkins refuses to succumb
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