Study Guide

As Kingfishers Catch Fire Life, Consciousness, and Existence

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Pretty much any time you throw themes of religion and identity into the mix, you're going to create a theme of life, consciousness, and existence. It's a bit like how, when you add peanut butter to chocolate, you end up a delicious snack that you must consume entirely, only looking back in regret and shame after it's all gone. "As Kingfishers Catch Fire" is no exception to the "religion + identity = life" equation. It's practically a primer for how to live the most authentic life possible, how to achieve a heightened sense of consciousness, and how to embrace the pinnacle of existence—at least as far as the speaker's concerned. We hope you're taking notes out there.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. In this poem, how is the speaker measuring the best way to live? What are his criteria for how we should live our lives?
  2. What role does religion play in awakening our consciousness?
  3. Besides self-consciousness, what other kinds of awareness does the speaker advocate for in this poem?

Chew on This

The poem argues that the only way to live a full life is to be totally self-conscious in all your actions. (Good luck with that.)

While acting in accordance with your inner self seems simple, the poem is really throwing down a life-long challenge for us. The best way to face the challenges of existence is just to try to be aware of them and confront them on a daily basis.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...