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Compare and Contrast the depiction of the countryside and the language techniques used by John Keats and Gerald Manley Hopkins in To Autumn(TM) and Binsey Poplars(TM)

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the depiction of the countryside and the language techniques used by John Keats and Gerald Manley Hopkins in 'To Autumn' and 'Binsey Poplars' The Victorian era was a time of great change. The industrial revolution brought about a rapid expansion of towns and cities, causing the rural population to flood in, drawn by the need to find work in the factories and mills and escape the poverty of the countryside. The countryside was disappearing quickly and writers, such as John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy, regretted its loss and constantly looked back to an idyllic, romanticised past and were concerned about capturing something that they thought would be swallowed up by the ever-expanding industrial landscape. In 'Binsey Poplars', Hopkins begins by treating the trees not just as a thing of beauty, but as his own, something deeply personal to him. 'My aspens dear' These beautiful trees gave shade and protected the earth from the sun by their leaves, adding to the sense of peace and tranquillity of the scene, a feeling which is heightened by Hopkins' use of alliteration, '...whose airy cages quelled, Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun...' These things of beauty, Hopkins laments, have all been destroyed by man, 'All felled, felled, are all felled.' Whilst the repetition of the word 'felled' suggests that sound of the axe chopping at the trees, I believe you can almost sense the anger and despair rising in Hopkins as the words are repeated. ...read more.

Middle

Hopkins goes on to say that, even before our time, the earth held such beautiful views as these trees, all of which is now lost forever. 'After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.' He expresses great sadness in the idea that all it took was a few strokes of an axe to achieve this destruction. You can almost here him add the words '...that's all,' to the middle of the line, 'Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve Strokes of havoc...' and the sense of grief and disbelief over what has happened in the repeated phrase, '....sweet especial rural scene, Rural scene, a rural scene, Sweet especial rural scene.' Hopkins believed that human beings are harmed as much as the landscape by the kind of destruction as happened here. In the poem he wants us to feel that there is a real loss to ourselves for, not only will the landscape not be there, we will not be able to see it. In this way it really will be as if our eyes had been, like the landscape, irreversibly damaged. 'To Autumn' by John Keats is among the last of his poems and it is often regarded as his most achieved ode. The poem is in the form of an ode which contains three stanzas, and each of these has eleven lines. The Poem does not follow any specific rhyme scheme. ...read more.

Conclusion

As all we know, the next season is winter, a part of the year that represents aging and death, the end of life. However, in my opinion, death does not have a negative connotation because Keats accepts 'autumn' as part of life even though winter is coming. It seems to me that the main difference in the two poems is that they were written for different reasons. Keats was nearing the end of his life when he wrote 'To Autumn' and, whilst it would appear that he is talking about the cycle of the seasons and the end of summer, the poem would appear to have a greater universal message in that he is also talking about the circle of life. In Hopkins' 'Binsey Poplars', the message is that nature, the earth and the landscape are all being destroyed only because people were, and are, failing to realise the full consequences of their actions. His view is that the landscape is so precious, yet so fragile, because even the slightest action by man can change it irreversibly. Both poets talk about death in nature, the loss of the autumn, the trees and, in Keats' case, his own life as it was drawing to a close. In my opinion both poets also want the same thing, that is: for the world to remain unchanged; for the landscape to stay as they believed it was intended to be and for the advance of industry to be halted. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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