Spring and Fall
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Spring and Fall Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Do you think that "know why" (line 9) describes Margaret in the future, or is instead an imperative (an order)? Why? How does that change your reading of the poem?
- What do you think "Goldengrove" looks like? Describe it, or maybe draw a picture.
- How old do you think Margaret is? What about the speaker?
- What do you think the relationship between the speaker and Margaret is supposed to be? Parent/daughter? Teacher/student? Older friend/friend's child? Why? And how does that shape your reading of the poem?
- Do you imagine this poem as being addressed to a child out loud? Or as more of an inner monologue? In other words, do you imagine a real speaker actually saying these lines to a young child, or just thinking them while watching the child weep over the fallen leaves? Why do you think so?
- At 15 lines long, "Spring and Fall" is just a smidge longer than a sonnet (which is always 14 lines long). It also has a different rhyme scheme. Many of Hopkins's poems are sonnets, like "God's Grandeur" and "The Windhover." Why do you think Hopkins chose NOT to write this poem as a sonnet?
- Do you think children really understand death and mortality? Why or why not?
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