by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Windhover Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Why a windhover? Why do you think the windhover, in particular, inspired Hopkins to write this poem? Why not a bird that flies and soars—why a bird that hovers in the air? How would the poem be different if were about, say, an eagle?
- What might the windhover represent to the poet?
- Is there a shift in tone in the poem? Where, and how does the tone change?
- Make a list of the different things Hopkins compares the windhover to. What do those things have in common, if anything? What qualities do they reveal about the windhover?
- Why do you think Hopkins uses so many made-up words, or familiar words used in strange and unfamiliar ways? How do those difficult words shape our understanding of the windhover?
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