Sonnets: Are They More Than What They Seem?

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Sonnets: Are They More Than What They Seem?

        Sonnets are not just poems that rhyme. They are not simply rhyme schemes, voltas and sestets. Sonnets have larger ideas at work than simply sounding pretty. The poets work larger stories and figures of speech into only a few lines. Making the average, unassuming reader fall prey to the idea of a simple, rhyming, pretty poem. This type of reader would not even notice the larger figures of speech, and the stories they create within these sonnets. So, read carefully; sonnets are not always what they seem.

  Three of the sonnets we read are perfect examples of images within a sonnet working to create the larger figures of speech. Stories are created by the larger figures of speech. The larger figures of speech in these sonnets may have different effects on different readers. However, I feel that each sonnet helps the reader to come to a realization about some aspect of life.  As long as the reader takes it upon himself to find the story within the sonnets and think about it, he should find a deeper meaning behind the sonnet.

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        The images in Wadsworth’s, The World Is Too Much With Us, create a larger figure of speech that attempts to show the reader that society takes nature for granted and Wadsworth feels we should not. The images in Hopkins’ sonnet, God’s Grandeur, also attempt to show the reader that society’s appreciation of nature has been neglected.

        Wadsworth and Hopkins have two very different ways of conveying their “stories” with figures of speech. Both writers seem to want the reader to come away with a respect for nature. Wadsworth uses a softer, passionate tone. For example,

“… I’d rather be a ...

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