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by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Spring Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. The speaker of the poem acknowledges both the beauty and praise-worthiness of the world, and also the inevitability of sin and the loss of innocence. How would you, in your own life, and with your own beliefs, reconcile the existence of so much that is good with the inevitable losses and evils that also exist?
  2. Why might Hopkins have written this poem in sonnet form and use so much internal rhyme and alliteration? How do the condensed form, the rhymes, and the sounds and rhythms affect or work alongside what's being said in the poem?
  3. If this poem is a prayer, what do you think our speaker expects to come of it? Do you think he believes the innocent minds of children can be kept from sin? If not, why do you think he prays for it anyway?
  4. Our speaker finds the most beautiful things in the natural world in images of spring, green things growing and trees flowering, lambs playing. If you were describe the most beautiful scene in the world, how would you choose to describe? What kind of images would you use?

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