Pato Chujman, our literature teacher gave us a task. We had to write an essay based on the poems “A birthday” and “Pied Beauty”. Here is mine:
Explore the ways in which the poets use words and phrases to create striking effects in Pied Beauty (by Gerard Manley Hopkins) and A Birthday (by Christina Rossetti)
Pied beauty and A Birthday are two poems that have this topic in common. Both are written with very striking words and phrases. This means, written with the intention to get your attention and have the power to produce vivid impressions on the sight or the mind. In the following essay I’m going to analyze how Hopkins and Rosetti create these effects.
Firstly I’m going to talk about pied beauty. Pied beauty is a poem about thanking God for all the things he had done, and to do this, Hopkins uses striking phrases. “Glory be to god for dappled things”. This phrase is very impressive. The word “glory” creates an effect of greatness and power. He is thanking God for all the things He had created, these things aren’t “perfect”, they are dappled, with spots with different shades of color, tone and form. To continue with this idea of all things made by God are perfect, he puts another phrase “All things counter”. Here the poet is saying that “all” things God had created are impeccable, it doesn’t matter if they are “sweet” , “sour”, “original”, “strange”, “spare”, “fickle” or “freckled”. The poem ends with the most impressive and remarkable phrase “Praise him”. By the word “praise” he expresses all his admiration and his grateful homage to God.
Secondly, I’m going to talk about A birthday. The poem is about a man/woman that is very happy. The poem has a romantic and tranquil atmosphere, it gives us the impression that the voice is going through a very good moment of his/her life. “My heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea”. Her heart is very tranquil, feeling really great, without worries. Her heart is feeling so well she describes it like a rainbow, using the perfection and symmetry of it to compare her heart. She is navigating through an idyllic sea with her delighted heart. This is a really vivid phrase which takes us to an imaginary place. To finish with stanza one, the last two lines are introduced “My heart is gladder than all these, because my love is come to me”. Here, Christina expresses that the voice is more delighted and pleased that all the things mentioned above like the “halcyon sea”. This is because her love has arrived and she/he is very gay about it.
To conclude, both poems are very descriptive and these descriptions are so vivid that make us imagine we are in other place, transported to another reality.