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Themes

The speaker in "God’s Grandeur" looks deeply at the natural world, and doesn’t hold back his or her contempt for the ways in which people and their industries have treated nature. Yet, Hopkins claims that the consequences of this treatment is only on the surface. This poem explores the idea of renewal, both for a damaged earth, and for the damaged people who walk upon it.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. What is the speaker’s attitude toward people? Angry? Empathetic? Generous? Kind? Pitying? Something else? What do you think?
  2. The poem seems to argue that the damage done to the environment, by people, can be repaired. Do you agree or disagree? Why do you feel this way?
  3. The speaker can’t understand why people haven’t taken care of nature, in their pursuit of "trade." Do you think nature has to be sacrificed, on some level, to fuel progress, and to meet the needs of human beings? Or can our needs be met without damaging the environment? Don’t be afraid to explore both sides of the argument.

Chew on This

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

God’s Grandeur presents a compelling argument that people can’t be fully happy when they don’t protect the environment.

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