Study Guide

God’s Grandeur Life, Consciousness, and Existence

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Life, Consciousness, and Existence

THE world is charged with the grandeur of God. (1)

The speaker of the poem argues clearly at the very beginning that life, consciousness, and existence are connected to God. But we should not view this poem as an argument for that perspective, because this early claim is assumed to be a given.

[…] have trod, have trod, have trod; (5)

Is this what modern life is all about? Just trudging through, tromping things down, worn out? The repetition evokes a vision of people with broken spirits who are not living, but merely existing. The poem suggests that by working so hard, we lose sight of what really matters in life. And according to the speaker, what matters is the natural world.

[…] nor can foot feel, being shod. (8)

Again, you call this existence? Let the grass grow, take off your shoes and jump around in it. It doesn’t have to be this hard. Hopkins laments that existence has been lessened by our losing contact with nature.

[…]the bent
World […](13-14)

The alienation the speaker expresses overtly in the first stanza, is carried out here, even in what is obviously meant to be a hopeful and uplifting passage. Everything is still "smeared" and "bleared" – everything is still "bent." Nothing has changed yet. These lines speak of the potential for a better existence.

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