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Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

by John Donne

Love Theme

Complicating the speaker's desire for salvation is the fact that he loves God in more than just the regular spiritual way. He seems interested in marital and sexual forms of love, as well. The bottom line is that he's unsatisfied with the kind of love where one's relationship with God is one-sided worship. He wants to feel loved back, and he's not sure how God can manifest that love.

Questions About Love

  1. How do the ideas of marriage and divorce work in Holy Sonnet 14? Does either involve love?
  2. Which does the speaker want more: salvation or affection?
  3. Why do you think the speaker isn't satisfied with a God who will only "knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend?"

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker's love for God is an easier, more natural expression for him than his plea for abuse. His language flows much more calmly and easily in the lines of the sonnet where he expresses his love directly.

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