Symbolism in Hopkins The Windhover
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Symbolism in Hopkin╣s │The Windhover▓
The windhover takes its╣ name from its ability to hover steady over one spot in the face of the wind. The subject of the poem is the poets admiration for a balance acheived in the face of violent motion, and both admiration of the transcendental example of Christ. The poems argument then is Hopkins interpretation of Christ and Christian action.
│The Windhover▓ bears a religious dedication: │to Christ our Lord▓, and yet contains no explicit element of traditional religious symbolism except possibly the falcon. Its imagery expresses ease and balance. The mention of │blue-black embers▓ comes from the tinge of coals in full heat, instead of using blue in order to indicate Marys color and the color of the sky, he used it only in context of a observation on the physical world. He may see th presence of Mary in a piece of coal. This untraditional symbol indicates that dedication to God is also possible by means of natural perceptions which are, as it were, the first fruits of the senses.
Religious and natural perception fall together in Hopkins. He describes the windhover in detail as an individual. In the second part of the poem, the symbol of the windhover gives way to the figure of Christ. Yet Christ is not symbolized through traditional symbols, but in clay and coal. In this Christ is shown to be a component of a physical or material world.
The flame from the windhover indicates self-sacrifice under stress. It is interesting that Hopkins puts AND in capitals and the resulting flame is described as a billion times lovelier than the windhovers image. Maybe the AND expresses the poets surprise that the spendor of self-sacrifice should be greater than the windhovers ability to stand still in the air. At the end of the poem Hopkins said │no wonder of it▓ because everything in the world has the mark of sacrifice on it.
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The Windhover, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Windhover, Hover, Symbolism, God
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