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Poem Analysis: Felix Randall By Gerald Maneley Hopkins.

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Niels Looije 14/10/2002 Poem Analysis: Felix Randall By Gerald Maneley Hopkins This poem written by Hopkins, in 1880, is a religious sonnet addressed to the dead Felix Randall, the farrier. It is a sonnet, meaning that it contains 14 lines, divided up into two quatrains and a sestet, which in turn is divided up in two tercets. This way of writing in fact keeps Randall from expressing himself completely because he is following a fixed rhyme scheme, but nonetheless he has written a powerful poem with an extensive use of vocabulary. The story that is told in the sonnet is divided up into two different perspectives: the physical state, and the mental or spiritual state. The fist quatrain is told in a physical point of view and is an introduction to Felix Randall who is horse farrier. This being mentioned immediately brings to mind that he must be a strong man, which in turn creates the physical perspective. After being introduced to Felix Randall, the reader is immediately thrown into the deep end by Hopkins and told that Randall is dead, that he had died from "four fatal disorders" and all Randall's harsh and hardy-handsomeness had been lost in his death by this sickness. ...read more.


He succeeded at it very well and the whole quatrain is laden with assonance expressions like the sentence above and "Pining, pining, till time when reason rambled... Fatal four..." This is the end of the first quatrain, where the information of Randall and his disease has broken him and this is the transition from the first quatrain to the second quatrain, where his sickness is brought more into perspective. The second quatrain introduces us into the spiritual perspective. Unlike the first quatrain, this quatrain deepens itself into his mental state at the time of his sickness. I think that after having read this quatrain, that the physical and mental states are completely independent from each other. Otherwise how can someone that must be so healthy die from four disorders? Randall, must have been unbalanced spiritually, and have had a weak mind in a In this quatrain, he at first does not accept this sickness at all but he later on became patient with himself and realized that "a heavenlier heart began some months earlier" and that he had his reprieve, or extension of life. ...read more.


Maybe it sounds strange, but it could be the same appreciation the two men get. This mutuality is emphasized by the word "us", which, obviously, evokes a certain bonding between the two people. Another word that emphasizes the bonding between the two people is the word "touch". This word is used both metaphorically and physically, since Hopkins knew the farrier, when he was a child and thus was touched to know that he was dying. Again in this first tercet, a certain harshness returns when Hopkins used the word "quenched" which is also a word used in the sense of onomatopoeia because it sounds like a violent grasp, something harsh. The last tercet, is a summary of his life squeezed into 3 little sentences. The words "boisterous" and "grim" brings back the harshness, the seriousness and the boldness of the first quatrain. Also the word "fettle" brings back the concept of the "man of mould". Hopkins emphasizes again the difference between mind and body. If they are unbalanced then it doesn't matter how strong a person is if he is weak of mind, he is easily broken. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

***3 Stars

A very good essay which uses literary and linguistic terminology accurately. All comments are well supported by appropriate textual references. Shows a knowledge of the poem and discusses the poet's intentions and the response of the reader. Some very good close language analysis and the writer discusses alternative interpretations.
A conclusion is needed and at times the analysis can be a little vague.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 16/07/2013

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