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Compare Hopkins and Hardys descriptions of waterfalls in Inversnaid and Under the waterfall. How do they make these vivid to the reader, and what significance does the waterfall have to each poet?

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Introduction

Compare Hopkins and Hardy's' descriptions of waterfalls in 'Inversnaid' and 'Under the waterfall'. How do they make these vivid to the reader, and what significance does the waterfall have to each poet? The poem Inversnaid, written by Gerard Manley Hopkins is about a Scottish waterfall, which expresses nature in its natural form. Hopkins' wrote it to send people a message, he is saying that we should leave nature as it is and not interfere; he is saying that nature should be left alone to grow. He is promoting 'green' conservation. Hopkins believes that nature is gods gift and that the waterfall at Inversnaid is a natural presence and should not be disturbed by man. He praises any form of natural beauty and thinks it should remain untouched. This message is clearly shown in the last four lines of the poem. Hopkins is very enthusiastic about the idea of conservation and he is very far ahead of his time, in arguing that nature should be left alone. This of course, is an important issue in our modern world. Hopkins describes the river as being 'darksome burn' and 'horseback brown'. This creates the image of a rather muddy, unclean river. ...read more.

Middle

The water evokes and fetches back memories from their 'thickening shrouds of gray' (sic). The use of the word shroud implies ideas of a killing, suggesting the memories have been killed of and had to return to the past, however, by plunging her hand into water she in effect, 'saves' these memories from being lost. She remembers things that once happened with delight but at the same time she is sad as it was all in the past and she cannot relive it. Hardy suggests that the woman previous experiences in love have not been ones of a happy kind, and that she has had little luck with romance in the past. The bad relationships she has had in the past have left her afraid and cautious for the future. The woman in the poem speaks about a secret, which only her and her lover know about. We can tell that it is a secret from the line 'Though precisely where no-one ever has known'. This suggests it is hidden and protected. Only the lovers are able to bond over this covert object. The woman is speaking about a drinking glass she once dropped into the waterfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hardy uses the waterfall as a memory; it helps him remember his love and passion he shared with his lover. The waterfall to him is a symbol of devotion. Another similarity is the fact that both poems are set in rural backgrounds, and both admire the sheer beauty of the waterfall. 'Inversnaid' admires the fearsome side of nature, portraying the waterfall as angry and strong. Inversnaid makes nature seem superior to all other beings as it shows it as powerful and undefeatable. Whereas, 'Under the waterfall' examines the more calm and serene side of nature. Hardy suggests the waterfall is unchangeable and will live forever undisturbed. At the same time however, there are many differences between 'Inversnaid' and 'Under the Waterfall'. 'Inversnaid' shows the waterfall as being a powerful, raging form of nature, almost as if it is out to destroy nature. It is represented as a higher being, and Hopkins shows the waterfall as being angry at the world for killing nature, when it should be preserved. This is in huge contrast to in 'Under the Waterfall' where Hardy shows the waterfall as being at one with the world and helping nature and being a gentle thing. The waterfall in Hardy's' poem is much more 'good' as it is kind to the lovers and provides a symbol of love for them. ...read more.

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