G M Hopkins | Carrion Comfort | An Analytical Study


G M Hopkins | Carrion Comfort | An Analytical Study

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G M Hopkins | Carrion Comfort | An Analytical Study

G M Hopkins Poem Carrion Comfort-An Analytical Study

G M Hopkins | Carrion Comfort | An Analytical Study

‘Carrion Comfort’ is one of the typical sonnets by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a difficult sonnet—both in theme and style. The main theme of the sonnet is the poet’s mental conflicts between body and soul or between Sin and Virtue or between Devil and God.

Once the poet Hopkins was tempted by worldly or sensual pleasure and then all his spiritual hopes and ecstasy got weakened. In other words, to say, the poet’s spiritual ecstasy had been lost by the pressure of worldly pleasure. Hence he determined, since then onwards, that he would not allow sensual pleasure to overcome him. When the poet decided to cut off his sensual pleasure, a feeling of Despair attacked his mind. Though despair is wearisome and unbearable for the human mind, yet the poet thought that despair (mental stress or conflict) in a worldly matter brought in some spiritual joy and delight.

Secondly, the poet thinks within his heart and mind that when he suffers from utter despair and desolation, it becomes bliss in disguise. The poet thinks more that Despair is an agent of God or Christ who becomes a tempest and blows over the poet’s heart and body. The tempo of the tempest is unbearable to him, yet he bears it with patience because he thinks that it purifies his heart from sin. What is a sin or good in him is like ‘grain’. God’s wrath (that means the poet’s feeling of despondency in his heart) has a corrective power that cleanses the poet’s heart.

Thirdly, the poet comes to the height of his spiritual faith and says that ‘despair’ that came on him is effective and wholesome for his heart. Through suffering from despair the poet has received spiritual delight in his mind and for which he thanks God or Christ with devotion.

The theme of the poem is generally common to everybody. Most people on earth at least once in their life suffer from despair or mental conflict between sin and virtue or between worldly pleasure and spiritual ecstasy. But to overcome worldly pleasure one must suffer from despair i.e. repentance and only then his heart may be purged of sin. The language and style of the poem are difficult which is one of the common characteristics of G. M. Hopkins’ poetic style. Though this poem is a sonnet, yet he has not followed any existing pattern of a sonnet. His pattern is his own and original. He uses the most difficult words and phrases which have a symbolic value such as—‘Carrion Comfort’ (which means the control of the body over the sensual pleasure). ‘Despair’ is a word that is personified and symbolically means sufferance through which one can be blessed by God and can turn to spiritual devotion. Such the word ‘tempest’ signifies the power of God that can purge a heart of sin. Some of Hopkins’ phrases are his own, such as—‘wring-world’ which means punishing the world, ‘Foot-rock’ which means the footprints of God, and ‘Heaven-Handing’ means God or Christ who has the power to handle heaven. Moreover, Hopkins’ language is coloured by alliteration such as—‘carrion comfort’, ‘wring-world’, ‘lion-limb’, ‘dark-some devouring’’, ‘bruised bones’, heaven-handling’, ‘wretch lay wrestling’ etc.

After all, it is a religious poem with a universal appeal but the language and style employed in this poem seem rude and difficult for average readers. 0 0 0

G M Hopkins Poem Carrion Comfort-An Analytical Study

N.B.  The article ‘Carrion Comfort’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Poetry Criticism’ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

Books of Biography by M. Menonimus:

  1. The World Writers-Brief Biographies
  2. Introduction to World Writers
  3. Introduction to World Personalities
  4. Love of Reputed Persons ..
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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