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by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Spring Theme of Awe and Amazement

"Spring," for its first eight lines at least, is a praise-poem. Our speaker celebrates the beauty of nature and the profound effects it can have on man. The act of paying close attention to the natural world, and then allowing it to fill him with awe, seems to be of great importance to the speaker of this poem. The celebration of beauty is also closely linked with his contemplation of theology and the act of prayer.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. Why does our speaker choose these specific aspects of nature to praise? Is there something essential about them, or would almost any natural image or sound be as effective?
  2. Why does our speaker feel moved to praise the world around him? What does the act of praising mean to him?
  3. What is the relationship between the speaker's praise for the natural world and the more direct communication with God in his prayer, by the end of the poem?

Chew on This

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

Because the speaker's praise seems to be based on the fact that spring resembles the Garden of Eden and the what Christianity considers the original relationship between man and nature, the praise in this poem is really a lament for the fall of man and the fact that the initial perfection of Eden could not be maintained.

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