Hopkins many readers across the world are used

Hopkins
and Finch strongly explore the genre of personal thoughts and struggles through
their poems I wake and feel the feel of
dark, not day and On Myself. The
idea 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 calls
for an understanding of attitudes and meaning behind the poems, through language,
form and structure within the contexts of the poems. There is a display of
angst on both sides of the speaker but this angst has different purposes. In
Hopkins’ sonnet, the speaker’s depression shines through and offers validity
for the dark tone of the poem. Whereas, Finch’s poem is a display of emotions
in regards to the unequal position of women in society.

 

Both
poets explore the genre of personal thoughts and struggles to form the basis of
their poems, and these feelings are an indicative purpose for the dissimilar,
yet, related attitudes displayed by Hopkins and Finch. The attitudes depicted
are coherent from the start of both poems Finch starts off her poem by ‘thank
thee’, 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 the
speaker’s negative connotations and Finch’s poem is generally within the basis
of positive undertones. I say generally, as this idea can be counteracted by
the ‘but’ within the second line of On
Myself. (Finch, 1)Hopkins’ speaker can be suggested as experiencing a
darkness which is suppressing him, to such an extent that he cannot obey ‘God’s
deepest decree.'(Hopkins, 9) The thoughts displayed by the speaker are relevant
to that of an individual who has lost their purpose within life, and feels
claustrophobic of the atmosphere eating him, which is a feeling many readers
across the world are used to experiencing. Furthermore, the negative
interpretations of ‘black’, ‘dead’, ‘blood’ and ‘curse’ resemble that of a
nightmare which the speaker cannot seem to run away from. (Hopkins, 2, 7, 11)
The speaker realises his condition and feels that this sinking feeling resembles
that of ‘hours I mean years, mean life’, something which is taking over every
aspect of his life. This display links to the feelings typically displayed in
an individual who obtains depression, a mental illness which the speaker can be
suggested as having, through the basis of his negative outlook on life. The
negative persona displayed by Hopkins’ speaker counteracts the positive outlook
of Finch’s speaker in On Myself. The
speaker is displayed as being content with her lifestyle, even if she happens
to be supressed in one way or another. The speaker acknowledges she is ‘of the
weaker kind’ but still thinks of her position as being of one where ‘my wings
can be displayed’ ‘when in the sun.’ (Finch, 2, 11) The speaker implies that
only 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 my
self can live’ with. (Finch, 9)Finch’s speaker is representative of how one can
make do with their position and work from what they have; yet, Hopkins’ speaker
represents reluctance in wanting to make a change, even when you have the free
will to do so. Both speakers form of overseeing their lifestyles is a way in
which Finch and Hopkins obtain similarities in their poems.

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Moreover,
another way in which Finch and Hopkins’ poems can compare is through the
speaker’s thoughts on the position of others around them. For instance, the
speaker of On Myself speaks of those
‘If they’re denied, I on my self can live.’ (Finch, 9)Within the context of the
poem, it can be implied that women of the 17th century who were
perceived as the ‘weaker kind’ were given ‘unequal chance’ in society, but the
speaker implies that she can continue living this way as this inequality given
to women affects others more than herself. (Finch, 2, 10)In terms of the
speaker, 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 he
perceives as ‘lost’ and suggests that due to feeling this way he can be seen as
one who is also ‘lost’. (Hopkins, 13)Hopkins’ speaker also speaks of a ‘dearest
him that lives alas!’ (Hopkins, 8) This line is suggestive of Hopkins’ speaker
talking about himself in third person and how he wants the past version of
himself to come back or could actually be a message of help from another as
suggested by his ‘cries like dead letters sent.’ (Hopkins, 7)Additionally, Hopkins’
speaker compares his position to those who have passed without religious
guidance. He compares their ‘scourge’ to his suffering and is suggestive of
them suffering from the hell-fire after their deaths. (Hopkins, 13) Yet, even
through this hellish comparison, the speaker still believes that his emotional
suffering is worse than those who have already passed and supposedly gone to
hell and where they have become ‘sweating selves.’ (Hopkins, 14)

 

Other
than the contrasting portrayal of emotional connotations (negative and
positive), both poets have dissimilar illustrations of the language and form
within their poems. Within On Myself,
Finch uses gustatory, kinaesthetic and visual imagery to create a picture of
her thoughts and feelings. Using the word ‘taste’, the gustatory imagery is
depictive 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 her
position 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 positive
imagery referenced earlier, Finch’s speaker is suggestive of the optimistic
feelings she has ‘with me’, in comparison to the deathly as well as
self-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 is
the ultimate reason for his emotional downfall. (Hopkins, 11) Hopkins uses a
metaphor on behalf of baking to portray the effort he puts in, and how this
effort (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 space
between self and yeast implies the attachment between the speaker’s actions and
the speaker himself. (Hopkins, 12) This creates a further understanding of the
speaker being the cause of his own concern. This idea counteracts the space
between the ‘my’ and ‘self’ within Finch’s poem, where the space emphasises how
the speaker is truly on herself in terms of her status within society, and how
only she can progress on her own. (Finch, 9) Evidently, the space within the
line is ironic as the speaker is content with herself even with the troubles
she must overcome on her own, but the lack of space in Hopkins’ poem creates a
reluctant attachment between the speaker and his emotional troubles. However,
there are also similarities between these factors, as this portrayal is
symbolic in how the speakers of both poems can only face their obstacles truly
by themselves. In addition, the representation of light and dark in both poems
is relevant in portraying both speakers’ relationship with God. The first line
of Hopkins’ poem is enough to display the speaker’s religious battle with
himself and God. The speaker does not feel the light which comes with the new
day, 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 God
in the speaker’s life, to such an extent where a day takes the emotional toll
of the gloom and melancholy of the night instead. In contrast, Finch’s speaker
is accepting of both ‘the sun’ and ‘the shade’, to such an extent that she
feels ‘blessed.'(Finch, 11-12) This supports the idea of the speaker’s
relationship with God being so strong that she is accepting of either the
positions of the ‘sun’ or ‘shade’ as she knows it is God’s way of showing care
and understanding. (Finch, 11-12)

 

 There is a display of various rhyme schemes
within 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 her
poem. This combination evokes the images Finch intends for her poem, in terms
of sensory and visual factors which helps create an overall personal effect of
the poem. Hopkins’ rhyme scheme differs to that of Finch’s. Hopkins uses a
rhyme scheme where stressed syllables are followed by a range of unstressed syllables
as 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 rhymes
with ‘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 of
the poem. (Hopkins, 2-3) In comparison, the last words of each line in Finch’s
poem 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’s
stability and content with herself. Further reinstating the emotional positions
of both speakers, the contrast in the rhyme schemes of both poems is also significant
in showing the differing conditions of both speakers. In Hopkins’ poem, the
rhyme resonates with the misery of the speaker and links to his difficulty in
getting his words out across the page. Whereas, the stable rhyme scheme within
Finch’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 both
stanzas in Hopkins’ poem. (Hopkins, 6-8) (Hopkins, 12-14) This echoes the
speaker’s continuous flow of thoughts and represents the naturalness of his position
due 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’s
poem within lines 7-10 which is also representative of the speaker’s natural
flow of speech. Another common attribute is the use of a caesura. The use of a
caesura in both poems is representative of taking a pause when speaking. This
can be shown through ‘their just value.’ (Finch, 6) The full stop implies the
serious impact the speaker wants to put on those specific words and argue the
ending of her array of thoughts in that moment. Similarly, the use of full
stops can be illustrated on numerous lines of Hopkins poem. For example, ‘With
within I speak this.’ Like the full stop in Finch’s poem, the use of this
implies a separation between the contexts of the poem and allows for the reader’s
focus on the specific point of the line. (Hopkins, 5)Additionally, the use of a
full stop in both poems is implying of a pause both poets seized when forming
their poems and displays the ways in how their poems should be read (through
taking a pause in the middle of the line).

 

Both
poems explore their speaker’s personal emotions through the use of tone and
structure. The poetic texts generally compare more on the basis of tone, rather
than their structure. Both poets set a religious tone within their poems, through
the mention of the presence of God. Both poets Christian upbringing can be
suggested 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 the
strongest relationship with God, there is still a godly presence through the
understanding that the speaker feels he is ‘God’s most deep decree.’ (Hopkins,
9) As previously mentioned, both speakers also compare in terms of the
direction of their voices and speaking of others. It is unclear who these
specific 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 God
within the heavens. Likewise, Hopkins’ speaker is also shown to be speaking to
someone ‘that lives alas!’, this someone can be interpreted as his past self or
someone else from his past, and upholds the status of a guide for the speaker.
(Hopkins, 8)  Both speakers use the
poetical platforms of both poems to broadcast their thoughts, whether it is
through themselves or a different persona relating to their stature. Finch’s
speaker shows her thoughts by speaking on the beliefs she has on her mind, and
does so through making a point on how she does not feel effected if she happens
to be stifled in any shape or form, ‘I can bless the shade.’ (Finch, 12) On the
contrary, Hopkins’ speaker does depict his thoughts, but does so through a
differing persona of himself. It is clear that the speaker does not enjoy the
accountability of his responsibility for his actions. The speaker creates the
persona of someone who he does not feel is a part of him, a darker version of
himself. This version can be implied as being the person who is ‘God’s most
deep 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 causing
the 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 wake
and feel the feel of dark, not day is clearly demonstrated. This structure
helps depict the difference in what each stanza is about. For example, the
separation between the first and second stanza suggests that the first stanza
of 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 to
describe his melancholic suffering and the aspects of life which are affecting
him. The unbalanced structure of the poem resonates with how the speaker is
attempting to get a grip on his chaotic thought process; this is due to the
first stanza consisting of 8 lines and the latter consisting of 6. On the other
hand, there is no prominent structure within Finch’s On Myself. The layout of
the poem on the page is not physically divided; however, the reader can redeem
division within the poem through the use of full stops. For example, lines 1-4
can be seen as a depiction of the speaker thanking someone, lines 5-10 obtain a
depiction of the speaker talking about her thoughts and feelings and lastly,
lines 11-12 illustrate a concluding message of the speaker’s contentment. The genre
of content thoughts and emotions flows throughout the poem, but the structure
can be seen as being in the form of steps within an argument, for example,
introduction, main body and conclusion. Unlike Hopkins poem, there is physically
a stable structure, such as number of lines, even though in this case there is
a lack of space between the various attributes of the poem. Yet, the structure
can be suggested as being used to organise the speaker’s points, in comparison
to the muddled thoughts of Hopkins speaker.  

 

To
conclude, it can be said that both poems depict the prominent genre of personal
thoughts and emotions by illustrating the purpose behind the speaker’s feelings
about their lives. The comparison’s and contrasts in both speaker’s purpose’s
help call for an understanding on why they are the way they are and what is
holding them back from showcasing their authentic selves, for example, society
and one’s battle with their mental demons.