Essay title: The Sea and the Skylark Analysis
(1) Describe the verse form and the use of sound patterns.
The poem â€œThe Sea and the Skylarkâ€ by Gerard Manley Hopkins is written in the verse form of an Italian sonnet, consisting of 14 lines and being devided into two parts. The first part can be classified as two quatrains in the rhyme scheme abba abba, thus the em-bracing rhyme. Hopkins uses this rhyme pattern to describe the coherence and regularity of the nature, exemplifying it by the sea and the skylark. To underline this harmonious effect of sea and lark he makes great use of various sound patterns, starting off in line 1, where we can find two identical rhymes â€œear â€“ earâ€ and â€œtwo â€“ too â€“ toâ€, symbolizing uniformity and endlessness.Furthermore Hopkins works with many alliterations, eg. in line 3 â€œflood â€“ fallâ€ and â€œlow â€“ lullâ€, in l.4 â€œwear and windâ€, l.
7 â€œwild winch whirlâ€, l.8 â€œspill nor spendâ€ and others. In addition occur internal rhymes, eg the exact one in line 5 â€œhand â€“ land – ascendâ€, the partial one in line 2 â€œright â€“ tideâ€ or the already mentioned identical ones in the first line. Also the continuous use of masculine end rhymes implies a certain regularity to the reader and so does the dominating rhythm of an iambic pentametre, even though here we find some variations. Hopkins inserts those consciously on certain parts of the poem, beginning in line 2 and, more obviously in line 3. These deviations of the metre serve to illustrate how within this endless conformity of the sea still occurs some alternation. The next two lines then imply again regularity, enforced by rhythm and soundpatterns, showing what harmonious unity sea and bird nevertheless build.
The vivid and agile sound of the larkâ€™s singing now interrupts this regularity, as is indicated by the irregular rhythm in line 6 and the enjambment from line 6 to 7 and 7 to 8. But still there is harmony expressed with the help ofinmediately consecutive alliterations in these three lines.The second part of the sonnet, consisting of two tercets, now disturbs the interaction of sea and skylark by introducing a different rhyme scheme (cdc dcd ) and irregularities in rhythm, especially noticeable in line 9, 11 and 13-14. Again Hopkins uses certain sound patterns to underline his message, for example the alliterations in l.9 and 10. Reading out loudly â€œshame and shallow â€œor â€œring right outâ€, one puts automatically more notion and accent on those words. The same effect has the internal single rhyme of â€œsordid turbidâ€ in line 10.
The alliteration â€œcheer and charmâ€ (l.12) on the other hand again signalizes unity and sets natureâ€™s harmony in contrast to the disturbing factor man. Noteworthy is the internal rhyme of â€œmake and making â€“ break are breakingâ€ in line 13, which indicates a repetitive circle on the one hand which is at the same time useless or even destructive, since it canâ€™t be read smoothly but rather disruptive, due to the alternating rhythm ofline 13 and 14.
(2) Name the oppositions which define the content of the text. Are they mediated and reconciled or do they remain unresolved?The major oppositions defining the content of Hopkinâ€™s sonnet are nature and humankind. In the first two quartains he praises the nature, the perfektion of this endless and harmonious circle. We feel this regular, comforting rhythm of the sea which appears powerful but far from threatening.
The amazing interaction between tides and moon is mentioned, which reminds us of how clever everything on earth is regulated by the nature itself and how well this principle works, as it has been working for ages and is going to last in the future. This harmonious endlessness contrasts strongly with the poor transience of men. Itâ€™s mainly the first and the last line that illustrate this opposition of immortality versus perishability. Hopkins opposes natureâ€™s pureness and its â€œcheer and charmâ€ with human materialism and egoism (l. 11) and he sets â€œthis shallow and frail townâ€ into contrast to the sea, the wind and the larkâ€™s singing.
Dust and slime dominate manâ€™s world, we are destructive and perishable and only persist for a very small amount of time. The skylark on the other hand is free, his joyful singing almost vibrates out of the sonnet (l.6-8), its â€?musicâ€™ â€?curlsâ€™ and â€?winchesâ€™ from the sky! Formally Hopkins expresses this opposition by the division into two parts, using the octave for the description of the earth and the sextet to point out the.