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Carrion Comfort Analysis, Use of 3 Devices



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    In Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poem “Carrion Comfort”, ‘parallelism’, ‘deviation’ and ‘variation’ are used to explore the patterns of Hopkins’ poem. Parallelism refers to the repetition of sentence structure or word order to achieve a rhythmical effect. The overall effect is that sentence parts seem to rhyme. More importantly, the thoughts that these parts express are either repeated or contrasted. Therefore, parallelism in poetry involves the arrangement of coordinate thoughts to the effect that the relationship between them is emphasized and and their meaning highlighted.

    Among the examples of the use of parallelism in this poem is in the first line Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man. Hopkins establishes a tone of tension and conflict that continues throughout the poem by beginning the first line with the word “Not” and then repeating it at the beginning of the second line. By beginning with “Not,” Hopkins immediately conveys that he is struggling. The repetitive use of not strengthens the poet’s stand. In me or, most weary, cry I can no more.

    I can; Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be. In the above line from the poem, two forms of parallelism are present, the first one is the repeated use of the word “can”, this repeated use of the word creates rhyme. The second use of parallelism is evident when the words “hope”, and “wish” are used together in the same sentence, both words are nearly synonymous and conveys the poet’s positive thoughts. Near the end of the first stanza, parallelism is also used in this line “me frantic to avoid thee and flee? . The words avoid and flee almost carry the same meaning, the poet intends to convey the message that he is trying to get away from somewhere or something. “lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer. “ The terms lapped strength, stole joy convey the same positive meaning while the words laugh and cheer are quite similar in meaning. Every word in poetry can have ambiguity in it. And this often makes people think poetry hard to understand, mysterious, or even mystical.

    This is ecause poetry has boundlessness and freedom in word choice and shapes, which is known as Poetic License. Poetic License is merely a special characteristic of poetry; none of literary works other than poetry has it, this can be exploited to express poet’s emotions, thoughts, and opinions even in an extremely radical way. Apart from that, this boundlessness and freedom in word choice has given and impact to linguistic field; it has created certain deviations in linguistic convention.

    Semantic deviation is one of the types of deviation used in this poem, this deviation shows that an ordinary word can have an extraordinary meaning. In line 6, Hopkins associates the “lion” with the assailant, referencing either Christ who is called “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5 KJV) or the devil who is described as a “roaring lion, walk[ing] about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8 KJV). He continues the lion image by stating that the attacker has “darksome devouring eyes” which “scan” his “bruised bones” (7).

    The use of the word “devouring” is notable because it again references the I Peter description of the devil. Also the word “scan” evokes the image of Hopkins as prey being stalked by the hungry, lion-like being. Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan . With darksome devouring eyes my bruised bones? and fan, the given lines are an example of the use of phonological deviation, this is the deviation in sound which is done deliberately in regard to the rhyme.

    The following type of deviation used in this poem is syntactic deviation, this is the type of deviation where poets disregards the rules of sentence. They sometimes put no period between sentences; make no space between words, etc. And if we do not pay a very careful attention, it of course will make us difficult to find out which words belong to a sentence and which belong to other, let alone understand the idea. The example of this can be found in the final line,” Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God! my God. ” Finally we will look at the use of variation, it can be defined as the artistic breaking of a pattern within a poem to create degrees of emphasis. In the poem, Hopkins uses “In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;” instead of “i cannot cry any more” , better illustrates the feeling of hopelessness. As a conclusion, the uses of the three devices help convey the poet’s intention to create a better understanding of the messages he is trying to share.

    Carrion Comfort Analysis, Use of 3 Devices. (2017, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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