Hopkinsand Finch strongly explore the genre of personal thoughts and struggles throughtheir poems I wake and feel the feel ofdark, not day and On Myself. Theidea of human internal processes helps convey the depths of the poet’s minds,and the feelings they display within the poems. This display of emotions callsfor an understanding of attitudes and meaning behind the poems, through language,form and structure within the contexts of the poems. There is a display ofangst on both sides of the speaker but this angst has different purposes.
InHopkins’ sonnet, the speaker’s depression shines through and offers validityfor the dark tone of the poem. Whereas, Finch’s poem is a display of emotionsin regards to the unequal position of women in society. Bothpoets explore the genre of personal thoughts and struggles to form the basis oftheir poems, and these feelings are an indicative purpose for the dissimilar,yet, related attitudes displayed by Hopkins and Finch. The attitudes depictedare coherent from the start of both poems Finch starts off her poem by ‘thankthee’, whereas Hopkins’ speaker ‘feel the fell of the dark, not day.’ (Finch,1) (Hopkins, 1) Through these lines, it is clear Hopkins’ poem is based off thespeaker’s negative connotations and Finch’s poem is generally within the basisof positive undertones. I say generally, as this idea can be counteracted bythe ‘but’ within the second line of OnMyself. (Finch, 1)Hopkins’ speaker can be suggested as experiencing adarkness which is suppressing him, to such an extent that he cannot obey ‘God’sdeepest decree.
‘(Hopkins, 9) The thoughts displayed by the speaker are relevantto that of an individual who has lost their purpose within life, and feelsclaustrophobic of the atmosphere eating him, which is a feeling many readersacross the world are used to experiencing. Furthermore, the negativeinterpretations of ‘black’, ‘dead’, ‘blood’ and ‘curse’ resemble that of anightmare which the speaker cannot seem to run away from. (Hopkins, 2, 7, 11)The speaker realises his condition and feels that this sinking feeling resemblesthat of ‘hours I mean years, mean life’, something which is taking over everyaspect of his life. This display links to the feelings typically displayed inan individual who obtains depression, a mental illness which the speaker can besuggested as having, through the basis of his negative outlook on life. Thenegative persona displayed by Hopkins’ speaker counteracts the positive outlookof Finch’s speaker in On Myself. Thespeaker is displayed as being content with her lifestyle, even if she happensto be supressed in one way or another. The speaker acknowledges she is ‘of theweaker kind’ but still thinks of her position as being of one where ‘my wingscan be displayed’ ‘when in the sun.’ (Finch, 2, 11) The speaker implies thatonly when given the chance she is able to be present herself in how she wants,but this is only on basis of circumstance, something which she still ‘on myself can live’ with.
(Finch, 9)Finch’s speaker is representative of how one canmake do with their position and work from what they have; yet, Hopkins’ speakerrepresents reluctance in wanting to make a change, even when you have the freewill to do so. Both speakers form of overseeing their lifestyles is a way inwhich Finch and Hopkins obtain similarities in their poems. Moreover,another way in which Finch and Hopkins’ poems can compare is through thespeaker’s thoughts on the position of others around them. For instance, thespeaker of On Myself speaks of those’If they’re denied, I on my self can live.’ (Finch, 9)Within the context of thepoem, it can be implied that women of the 17th century who wereperceived as the ‘weaker kind’ were given ‘unequal chance’ in society, but thespeaker implies that she can continue living this way as this inequality givento women affects others more than herself. (Finch, 2, 10)In terms of thespeaker, she experiences the ‘pleasure’, ‘praise’ and ‘plenty’ which ‘trifles’around her are not familiar with and cannot experience. (Finch, 5) Correspondingly,in terms of Hopkins’ speaker, the speaker compares his suffering to those heperceives as ‘lost’ and suggests that due to feeling this way he can be seen asone who is also ‘lost’. (Hopkins, 13)Hopkins’ speaker also speaks of a ‘dearesthim that lives alas!’ (Hopkins, 8) This line is suggestive of Hopkins’ speakertalking about himself in third person and how he wants the past version ofhimself to come back or could actually be a message of help from another assuggested by his ‘cries like dead letters sent.
‘ (Hopkins, 7)Additionally, Hopkins’speaker compares his position to those who have passed without religiousguidance. He compares their ‘scourge’ to his suffering and is suggestive ofthem suffering from the hell-fire after their deaths. (Hopkins, 13) Yet, eventhrough this hellish comparison, the speaker still believes that his emotionalsuffering is worse than those who have already passed and supposedly gone tohell and where they have become ‘sweating selves.’ (Hopkins, 14) Otherthan the contrasting portrayal of emotional connotations (negative andpositive), both poets have dissimilar illustrations of the language and formwithin their poems.
Within On Myself,Finch uses gustatory, kinaesthetic and visual imagery to create a picture ofher thoughts and feelings. Using the word ‘taste’, the gustatory imagery isdepictive of the opportunities the speaker of the poem is able to ‘taste.’Within this context, the ‘taste’ is not literal but a physical depiction of herposition in life. (Finch, 7)The emphasis of the ‘p’ in the alliteration of’pleasures and praise and plenty’ contrasts to the emphasis Hopkins puts on the’b’ in ‘blood brimmed.'(Finch, 5) (Hopkins, 11) With links to the positiveimagery referenced earlier, Finch’s speaker is suggestive of the optimisticfeelings she has ‘with me’, in comparison to the deathly as well asself-enforced imagery depicted by Hopkins’ speaker. (Finch, 5) Once again,reinforcing that it is his ‘blood’ which is the cause for his ‘curse’ and he isthe ultimate reason for his emotional downfall. (Hopkins, 11) Hopkins uses ametaphor on behalf of baking to portray the effort he puts in, and how thiseffort (lack of) is not being reaped and is not ultimately effective,’Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough.'(Hopkins, 12) Not only does the use of’dull’ reinforce the emotional condition of the speaker, but the lack of spacebetween self and yeast implies the attachment between the speaker’s actions andthe speaker himself.
(Hopkins, 12) This creates a further understanding of thespeaker being the cause of his own concern. This idea counteracts the spacebetween the ‘my’ and ‘self’ within Finch’s poem, where the space emphasises howthe speaker is truly on herself in terms of her status within society, and howonly she can progress on her own. (Finch, 9) Evidently, the space within theline is ironic as the speaker is content with herself even with the troublesshe must overcome on her own, but the lack of space in Hopkins’ poem creates areluctant attachment between the speaker and his emotional troubles. However,there are also similarities between these factors, as this portrayal issymbolic in how the speakers of both poems can only face their obstacles trulyby themselves.
In addition, the representation of light and dark in both poemsis relevant in portraying both speakers’ relationship with God. The first lineof Hopkins’ poem is enough to display the speaker’s religious battle withhimself and God. The speaker does not feel the light which comes with the newday, but the darkness of the night instead, ‘I wake and feel the feel of dark,not day.'(Hopkins, 1) The lack of light is representative of the absence of Godin the speaker’s life, to such an extent where a day takes the emotional tollof the gloom and melancholy of the night instead. In contrast, Finch’s speakeris accepting of both ‘the sun’ and ‘the shade’, to such an extent that shefeels ‘blessed.'(Finch, 11-12) This supports the idea of the speaker’srelationship with God being so strong that she is accepting of either thepositions of the ‘sun’ or ‘shade’ as she knows it is God’s way of showing careand understanding. (Finch, 11-12) There is a display of various rhyme schemeswithin both On Myself and I wake and feel the feel of dark, not day.Finch uses a mixture of perfect and near rhymes to form the lines within herpoem.
This combination evokes the images Finch intends for her poem, in termsof sensory and visual factors which helps create an overall personal effect ofthe poem. Hopkins’ rhyme scheme differs to that of Finch’s. Hopkins uses arhyme scheme where stressed syllables are followed by a range of unstressed syllablesas well as regular iambic pentameters, a pattern which is constant throughout I wake and feel the feel of dark, not day.This rhyme scheme can be shown within the first line which ends in ‘day’ and rhymeswith ‘delay’ which is on the fourth line of the poem, and how ‘spent’ and’went’ rhyme together by following each other back to back within the lines ofthe poem. (Hopkins, 2-3) In comparison, the last words of each line in Finch’spoem rhyme with the words above and beneath it, for example, ‘designed’, ‘kind’,’taste’ and waste.’ (Finch, 1-8) This is significant in indicating the speaker’sstability and content with herself. Further reinstating the emotional positionsof both speakers, the contrast in the rhyme schemes of both poems is also significantin showing the differing conditions of both speakers.
In Hopkins’ poem, therhyme resonates with the misery of the speaker and links to his difficulty ingetting his words out across the page. Whereas, the stable rhyme scheme withinFinch’s poem resonates with the comfort and stability the speaker has with her position.For instance, the use of enjambment is prominent in the latter part of bothstanzas in Hopkins’ poem. (Hopkins, 6-8) (Hopkins, 12-14) This echoes thespeaker’s continuous flow of thoughts and represents the naturalness of his positiondue to the common human position he obscures, negative thoughts and feelings.The same use of the enjambment can also be shown to be prominent in Finch’spoem within lines 7-10 which is also representative of the speaker’s naturalflow of speech. Another common attribute is the use of a caesura. The use of acaesura in both poems is representative of taking a pause when speaking. Thiscan be shown through ‘their just value.
‘ (Finch, 6) The full stop implies theserious impact the speaker wants to put on those specific words and argue theending of her array of thoughts in that moment. Similarly, the use of fullstops can be illustrated on numerous lines of Hopkins poem. For example, ‘Withwithin I speak this.
‘ Like the full stop in Finch’s poem, the use of thisimplies a separation between the contexts of the poem and allows for the reader’sfocus on the specific point of the line. (Hopkins, 5)Additionally, the use of afull stop in both poems is implying of a pause both poets seized when formingtheir poems and displays the ways in how their poems should be read (throughtaking a pause in the middle of the line). Bothpoems explore their speaker’s personal emotions through the use of tone andstructure.
The poetic texts generally compare more on the basis of tone, ratherthan their structure. Both poets set a religious tone within their poems, throughthe mention of the presence of God. Both poets Christian upbringing can besuggested as being what is depicted within their poems, such as the mention of’religion waste’ in On Myself.(Finch, 8) Even though the speaker of Hopkins’ poem is not depicted to have thestrongest relationship with God, there is still a godly presence through theunderstanding that the speaker feels he is ‘God’s most deep decree.
‘ (Hopkins,9) As previously mentioned, both speakers also compare in terms of thedirection of their voices and speaking of others. It is unclear who thesespecific individuals are; however, Finch’s speaker does start off with thanking’heav’n’, so the direction of her words can be implied as being towards Godwithin the heavens. Likewise, Hopkins’ speaker is also shown to be speaking tosomeone ‘that lives alas!’, this someone can be interpreted as his past self orsomeone else from his past, and upholds the status of a guide for the speaker.(Hopkins, 8) Both speakers use thepoetical platforms of both poems to broadcast their thoughts, whether it isthrough themselves or a different persona relating to their stature. Finch’sspeaker shows her thoughts by speaking on the beliefs she has on her mind, anddoes so through making a point on how she does not feel effected if she happensto be stifled in any shape or form, ‘I can bless the shade.’ (Finch, 12) On thecontrary, Hopkins’ speaker does depict his thoughts, but does so through adiffering persona of himself. It is clear that the speaker does not enjoy theaccountability of his responsibility for his actions. The speaker creates thepersona of someone who he does not feel is a part of him, a darker version ofhimself.
This version can be implied as being the person who is ‘God’s mostdeep decree’, and who is the reasoning behind the position of the speaker.(Hopkins, 9) It is as if it is this version of the speaker is who is causingthe dull emotions upon the speaker as illustrated throughout I wake and feel the feel of dark, not day. Overall,the structures of both Hopkins and Finch’s poems differ from each other.
Amongst the page, the structure of I wakeand feel the feel of dark, not day is clearly demonstrated. This structurehelps depict the difference in what each stanza is about. For example, theseparation between the first and second stanza suggests that the first stanzaof Hopkins’ poem obtains the speaker’s depiction on how he sees life, whereas,the second stanza is illustrative of the speaker using metaphors and similes todescribe his melancholic suffering and the aspects of life which are affectinghim. The unbalanced structure of the poem resonates with how the speaker isattempting to get a grip on his chaotic thought process; this is due to thefirst stanza consisting of 8 lines and the latter consisting of 6. On the otherhand, there is no prominent structure within Finch’s On Myself. The layout ofthe poem on the page is not physically divided; however, the reader can redeemdivision within the poem through the use of full stops. For example, lines 1-4can be seen as a depiction of the speaker thanking someone, lines 5-10 obtain adepiction of the speaker talking about her thoughts and feelings and lastly,lines 11-12 illustrate a concluding message of the speaker’s contentment.
The genreof content thoughts and emotions flows throughout the poem, but the structurecan be seen as being in the form of steps within an argument, for example,introduction, main body and conclusion. Unlike Hopkins poem, there is physicallya stable structure, such as number of lines, even though in this case there isa lack of space between the various attributes of the poem. Yet, the structurecan be suggested as being used to organise the speaker’s points, in comparisonto the muddled thoughts of Hopkins speaker. Toconclude, it can be said that both poems depict the prominent genre of personalthoughts and emotions by illustrating the purpose behind the speaker’s feelingsabout their lives. The comparison’s and contrasts in both speaker’s purpose’shelp call for an understanding on why they are the way they are and what isholding them back from showcasing their authentic selves, for example, societyand one’s battle with their mental demons.