|The following summary and
analysis of Hopkins' poem, "Spring and Fall," should help you understand
the assignment for "Cherries" and for the Textual Analysis essay.
Spring and Fall
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
áre you gríeving
|Over Goldengrove unleaving?
|Leáves, líke the things of man,
|With your fresh thoughts care
for, can you?
|Áh! ás the heart grows older
|It will come to such sights
|By and by, nor spare a sigh
|Though worlds of wanwood
|And yet you wíll weep and know
|Now no matter, child, the name:
|Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
|Nor mouth had, no nor mind,
|What heart heard of, ghost
|It ís the blight man was born
|It is Margaret you mourn for.
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In Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem, "Spring and
Fall," the narrator speaks to a young girl, telling her that when she
grieves for the dying of a forest, she does not realize that she is in
fact grieving for her own mortality because, like the trees, humans will
also wither and die. With age, though, will come the conscious
understanding of what now only her soul unconsciously understands
An interesting aspect of this poem is the
negative connotation the narrator places on human mortality and
Margaret's sadness. Though the speaker mentions
(l. 13), an
allusion to the Holy Ghost, nowhere in the poem does the speaker speak
of the comforting nature of the spirit, or the hope that spiritual
redemption holds. Admittedly, the poem does not outright connect to a
Christian tradition, but referring to the soul as a ghost seems to
provide a logical link. This lack of hope and peace when contemplating
mortality, "the blight man was born for" (l. 14), reflects the despair
that is by-product of a life lead without some spiritual connection to a
bigger picture than what this world holds. That spiritual picture
does not have to adhere to any one particular religion, but being able
to accept and live with the reality that people die is vital.
Today's world seems obsessed with ignoring this fact. People spend vast
sums to increase their life spans or find miracle cures. This has
lead to an explosion in what a century ago would have been called snake
oil cures. Magnets, exotic plants, and liquid forms of metals are
just a few of the non-prescription remedies marketed to people who
cannot accept that death comes to all. Perhaps if people prepared
themselves to accept that life will end, they would find a greater peace
in living, and not spend so much time and money trying to outrun death.
Manley. "Spring and Fall." Bartleby.com:
Great Books Online.
Bartleby.com, 2011. Web. 12 June 2011.
1. This opening
constitutes the "signal-in" giving the reader the author and title
information. In MLA style, always use the author's complete name,
as listed in the text, when first referring to that author. Afterwards,
use only the author's last name (unless you are using works by more than
one author with the same last name).
2. In fiction, the
speaker in a work is usually not the author. Instead is is either a
character, like Margaret, or a narrator who is unnamed. Since
Margaret does not speak in this poem, the only one talking is the
narrator. Do not refer to this person as Hopkins or the author.
3. This is the
"signal-out" giving the reader the cue that you are finished referring
to the source. Here, because the summary covers the entire poem,
the citation at the end should only list the author's name and page
number (for print sources). Because this is an online source, there are
no page numbers to use, so we only put the last name of the author.
4. The use of a
specific word or phrase from the poem requires quotation marks followed
immediately by a parenthetical notation. If the quoted word or
phrase is at the beginning or middle of a sentence, and the material
following it is not summary from the poem but your ideas, you must place
the signal-out immediately after the reference to the poem, not at the
end of the sentence. If you placed it at the end of the sentence,
you would be communicating to the reader that all ideas in the sentence
5. Poetry does not use
page numbers to refer to information in the text. Instead, it uses line
numbers. For one line, use a single lower case "L" followed by a period,
then a space, and then the line number. Like this: (l. 2). For
quotes and summaries longer than one line, use double lower case "L's"
followed by line numbers: (ll. 2-4).
6. This marks the end
of defining the abstract issue in the poem and building how the author
presents that issue, and the beginning of the connection to a
current social issue. You must do both.
7. To complete the
documentation process, you must include a work cited page. Note that it
is WORK cited if you only have one source. It is WORKS cited if you have
two or more. Formatting clarification: The title WORK CITED is
underlined here because it is a hyperlink. In your papers, you do not
highlight. You simply type it in title case: Work Cited.