Letter to the Editor

The Article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27dowd.html

Are Cells the New Cigarettes?

By Maureen Dowd

Published: June 26, 2010

 

The great cosmic joke would be to find out definitively that the advances we thought were blessings — from the hormones women pump into their bodies all their lives to the fancy phones people wait in line for all night — are really time bombs.

Just as parents now tell their kids that, believe it or not, there was a time when nobody knew that cigarettes and tanning were bad for you, those kids may grow up to tell their kids that, believe it or not, there was a time when nobody knew how dangerous it was to hold your phone right next to your head and chat away for hours.

We don’t yet really know the physical and psychological impact of being slaves to technology. We just know that technology is a narcotic. We’re living in the cloud, in a force field, so afraid of being disconnected and plunged into a world of silence and stillness that even if scientists told us our computers would make our arms fall off, we’d probably keep typing.

San Francisco just became the first city in the country to pass legislation making cellphone retailers display radiation levels. The city’s Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 1 in favor. The one against, the Democrat Sean Elsbernd, said afterward: “It’s a slippery slope. I can go on Google right now and find you a study that says there’s a problem with the Starbucks you’re drinking.”

Different phone models emit anywhere from 0.2 watts per kilogram of body tissue to 1.6 watts, the legal limit. The amount of radio frequency energy seeping into the body and brain is measured by a unit called the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).

“You see all these kids literally glued to their phones,” Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, told me. “And candidly, my wife was pregnant and on her cellphone nonstop. So I dusted off some studies and started doing research.

“That’s when I discovered that companies who make cellphones are already required to disclose that information to the federal government, and that it exists but somewhere on someone’s Web page on the 88th page.” Why not underscore it, he thought, by alerting consumers at the store, putting the SAR level in the same font as the phone price?

His alarmed advisers, accustomed to seeing the sleek Newsom diving into bold stands without calculating the potential blowback — as with gay marriage — told him to focus on jobs and the economy.

“They said: ‘There you go again. They’re going to mock you. It’s going to be another sideshow,’ ” he recalled. But stroking his baby daughter’s soft head and reading new studies on the vulnerability of children’s thinner skulls to radiation, he persevered.

One Swedish study that followed young people who began using cells as teenagers for 10 years calculated a 400 percent increase in brain tumors. But as Nathaniel Rich recently pointed out in Harper’s, studies about cellphones’ carcinogenic potential all contradict one another, including those involving children.

When Newsom proposed the bill, telecommunications lobbyists went to the mattresses, as did hoteliers, who feared losing convention business.

He said that lobbyists from Washington made it clear that they would invoke “the nuclear option” and come down “like a ton of bricks.”

“This is tobacco money, oil money,” he said. “But these guys from D.C. do not know me because that has exactly the opposite effect. Shame on them, to threaten the city. It’s about as shortsighted as one could get in terms of a brand.”

Months before the bill passed, he read me part of a letter that Marriott sent him: “CTIA — The Wireless Association, which is scheduled to hold a major convention here in October 2010, has already contacted us about canceling their event if the legislation moves forward. They also have told us that they are in contact with Apple, Cisco, Oracle and others who are heavily involved in the industry, as you know, about not holding future events in your city for the same reason.”

Sure enough, when the bill passed Tuesday, CTIA issued a petulant statement that after 2010, it would relocate its annual three-day fall exhibition, with 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and “$80 million” in business, away from San Francisco.

“Since our bill is relatively benign,” Newsom said, “it begs the question, why did they work so hard and spend so much money to kill it? I’ve become more fearful, not less, because of their reaction. It’s like BP. Shouldn’t they be doing whatever it takes to protect their global shareholders?”

So now we have Exhibit No. 1,085 illustrating the brazenness of Big Business.

They should be sending Mayor Newsom a bottle of good California wine for caring about whether kids’ brains get fried, not leaving him worried about whether they’ll avenge themselves in his campaign for lieutenant governor.

He’s resigned to that possibility, just as he is to his own addiction. “I love my iPhone,” he said cheerfully.

A SAMPLE ANSWER:

Dear Editor,

 

What have we come to? It seems like nowadays we are more and more attached to technology. I am referring to our cell phones. Cell phones are not so much a device but part of us. It seemed like only yesterday when cell phones were more for business people. Now it’s a whole different story.

Approximately 88% of teens between ages 12-17 own a cell phone (“Teens, cell phones, and texting”) compared to 51% back in 2006. We teens have made cell phones an attachment to us. Everywhere we go, we can see teens with their cell phones out, whether one is at the park, at the movies and sometimes even at church. Nowadays most of us teens seem to not be able to get through the day without our cell phones.

Although owning a cell phone can be beneficial because there is always a need for communication between one another, cell phones only give us basic communication. What I mean is that we want to stay connected with our friends and family but we don’t do it by calling but rather texting. Although texting is a form of communication, it sometimes just leads us to forget to express ourselves. There are more teens that text now than actually make a call. The statistics show that teens enjoy texting rather than picking up the phone and saying “hello”.

As a teen myself I know its true. I find it easier to text than to call but in reality we are losing the form of communication where one can hear the reaction or expression of language. 54% of all teens are texting while only 38% make a call (Pew Research). One in three teens send more than 100 texts messages a day (Pew Research).

This is a call to action for us teens to limit ourselves on texting before it creates a major change to who we are. What I mean is that sometimes it’s a toll on us when we do not have a cell phone. As an example we have 16 year old Phillippa Grogan who said “Id rather give up, like, a kidney rather than my phone” (Teens, cell phones and texting). This for some of us might be how we would think. We become so attached to our phone that we can’t give it up.

This is because we have our own little world when we have our phone. As a female teen myself, I enjoy texting because I can gossip with my friends without people hearing, this I think is true for most girls and some guys. Some of us give way too much importance to our cell phones rather than actually going out and talking to our friends. Sometimes when we are out with friends we are still texting. What happened to the times where hanging out actually meant hanging out. Actually being able to have a good time without having a side conversation with someone else who is not there.

We as teens enjoy texting because we feel more privacy about what we say when people are around. I think we text because it keeps our parents from knowing what we are saying. This means we have our own “private world”. However, we should know where to have our limits set. We should not text when we are at family gatherings. Rather than being at the dinner table texting we should start a conversation and make it interesting. I’m not saying that all teen’s text while at dinner table, but the majority do. I learned that it’s not right because it’s a moment when one is with the family and texting can wait.

We need to break out of our own little world and step out of the keyboard range. We need to think back when we didn’t give too much of importance to cell phones and when we didn’t get upset because someone didn’t text us back. This includes parents as well.  The parents have to be aware of when a child is spending too much time texting.

There are some teens that might spend hours of his or her cell phone rather than being outside doing an activity or even homework. Hopefully we teens make more use of being with friends and actually communicating like years back, rather than just using our cell phones and texting most of the time. We should use our cell phones and text only when we know its appropriate, like not at school or at church or at the movies. Maybe limit our texting and hang out more with our friends to keep the expression of language.

 

Sincerely,

Angelica Mendoza

 

 

Works Cited:

 

Henley, Jon “Teenagers and Technology” 15 July 2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/16/teenagers-mobiles-facebook-social-networking

Lenhart, Amanda “Teens, Cell Phones and Texting” 20 April 2010

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1572/teens-cell-phones-text-messages

McKee, Jonothan “The Impact on Teens and Technology”

http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-culture-trends/150994-the-impact-of-technology-on-teenagers.html

 

Continuum

The Cockroach

Class 6 Your Nota

Class 5 Poetry

 

Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 12.24.49 PM

Pike

Pike, three inches long, ______________ (adjective)
Pike in all parts, green ______________ (verb) the gold.
Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.
They ____________(verb) on the surface among the flies.

Or move, stunned by their own grandeur,
Over a bed of____________ (noun) , silhouette
Of ______________  (adjective) delicacy and horror.
A hundred feet long in their world.

In ponds, under the heat-struck lily pads-
Gloom of their stillness:
Logged on last year’s black leaves, watching upwards.
Or hung in an amber ___________ (noun) of weeds

The jaws’ hooked _____________ (noun) and fangs
Not to be changed at this date:
A life subdued to its instrument;
The gills ______________ (verb) quietly, and the pectorals.

Three we kept behind glass,
Jungled in weed: three inches, four,
And four and a half: fed fry to them-
Suddenly there were two. Finally one

With a sag _________ (noun) and the grin it was born with.
And indeed they spare nobody.
Two, six pounds each, over two feet long
High and dry and dead in the willow-herb-

One jammed past its gills down the other’s gullet:
The outside eye stared: as a __________ (noun) locks-
The same ______ (noun) in this eye
Though its film shrank in death.

A pond I fished, fifty yards across,
Whose lilies and muscular tench
Had outlasted every visible stone
Of the monastery that planted them-

Stilled legendary depth:
It was as _________ (adjective) as England. It held
Pike too __________ (adjective) to stir, so immense and old
That past nightfall I dared not cast

But silently cast and fished
With the hair _________ (adjective) on my head
For what might move, for what eye might move.
The _______ (adjective) splashes on the dark pond,

Owls ____________ (verb) the floating woods
Frail on my ear against the ______________ (noun)
Darkness beneath night’s darkness had freed,
That rose slowly toward me, ______________ . (verb)Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 12.26.57 PMScreen shot 2013-10-14 at 12.28.17 PM

Class 4 Poetry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEto1-ZTbd4

This is an intriguingly ambivalent portrayal of a snake.  Wright manages to convey an impression that the snake is both strikingly important as well as nothing much to worry about.

Devices: In the image of the “sun glazed [on] his curves of diamond scale,” Wright seems to emphasise the snake’s special, regal qualities through her use of the diamond metaphor.  The snake glitters mesmerisingly before the speaker’s eyes.  She also uses alliterationat several points to dramatise the snake’s authority, such as in the phrase, “food / fled living from his fierce intent”.  The alliterative words here fall on strongly stressed syllables which gives a sense of the snake’s power.   Wright finishes with a pointedly nonchalant tone as they “took a deeper breath of day, / looked at each other, and went on.”

Word Choices: The snake comes across as an invasive and arresting threat comparable to the famous serpent in the Genesis story in The Bible, especially in the contrast Wright’s words make between the walkers’ calm, warm world and the snake’s active, cold one.  The sibilant words in the opening line, “Sun-warmed in this late seasons’ grace”, establishes a relaxed warm mood which the snake penetrates: it “froze” the walkers mid-stride.  In addition, the word “Cold” has a heavy effect at the start of the final stanza, which leaves a final impression of the snake’s potent presence.  However, unlike the biblical snake, this one ultimately fails to gain dominance over the walkers.

Summary
The poet and her companion were walking on a pleasant autumn day when they see a black snake that speeds past, intent on catching its prey. The rest of the poem concentrates on the reactions of the poet and her companion. As they stood still taken aback by the sudden appearance of the snake in the grass, the snake slithers away.
Main Subject
The main subject of the poem is the sudden appearance of the snake and the surprised reactions of the poet and her companion. The snake does no harm to the walkers and they in turn do not harm the snake.
Purpose
Apart from being a poet, Judith Wright was also an environmentalist who sought to preserve the natural surroundings in Australia. She cared intensely for the Aboriginal people who lived in close intimacy with nature which the settlers did not. The poem is on the face of it about sudden appearance of the snake but it could also be about the various creatures that lived in Australia and the animal friendly way of life of the aboriginal people.
Emotions
The initial emotion that overtakes the poet and her companion is shock or surprise. They are in no jungle but walking along a grassy patch when they see the snake “reeling by”. Soon this surprise is overtaken by admiration for the perfection of its body, the symmetry of the scales on its surface and the single minded (“fierce intent”) pursuit of its prey.
“Head down, tongue flickering on the trail
he quested through the parting grass,
sun glazed his curves of diamond scale
and we lost breath to see him pass.”
Technique / Craftsmanship
The poem has a tightly controlled structure that does not permit much innovation, but the last stanza gives the poet some leeway. The beginning of the poem describes a peaceful scene when nature is full of the mellow sunshine of autumn, then comes the surprise of finding a snake in their midst. But there is no sudden movement or strong emotion expressed so there is no change in the structure either.
Structure
The poem has four quatrains with a traditional rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef in the first three stanzas but the fourth stanza is ghhg. The change in the last stanza is like the letting out of breath (“We took a deeper breath of day,”) after having unconsciously held it while the snake was around.
Language
The language used is very simple but the imagery is strong making it a visceral poem. The choice of sibilants (“we scarcely thought; still as we stood”) mimics the movements of the snake.
Imagery
The use of strong imagery marks the poem. The opening images are of a balmy day in autumn when there is a “mellow fruitfulness” everywhere. The calm is broken by the sudden arrival of the snake. The picture of the snake in single minded pursuit of its prey, tongue darting as it feels the ground, the grass parting as it moves through are pen pictures which allow us to “see” the event. The poem focuses on the event rather than the narrator allowing us to share in the emotions.
Movement / Rhythm
The rhyme scheme is a simple abab, cdcd, efef and ghhg. The rigidity of the scheme allows the poet to focus on the event rather than on the emotions or the feelings of the poet or blank narrator. Movement of the snake is copied in the movement of the lined. The sibilants evoke a slithering sensation.
Sounds
Alliterative sounds as in “sun glazed his curves of diamond scale”, “we scarcely thought; still as we stood” convey the impression of a slithering movement of the snake as it moved fast over the grass.
Figures of Speech
Through an extended metaphor, the poet tells us of the symbiotic relationship between the snake and man. There is no maudlin talk about the prey or the cruelty of the snake as a hunter but merely an acknowledgement of the sense of purpose behind the movement of the snake.

Class 3 Poetry

A Different History – Sujata Bhatt

A Different History
Sujata Bhatt
Summary: The poet here talks about the affects of colonization or globalization for that matter. Whatever the case she addresses a sudden change in the way society thinks and how we should try to preserve it. She also talks about the loss of culture that comes with globalization and the loss of part of our history as we reject the teachings of the old culture and of our old heritage. It could be for this reason that she decided to name the poem A Different History.
 
Significant poetic devices and their significance (eg: Metaphors, symbols, rhyme scheme, form, imagery, repetition… etc)
Structure based analysis
1.       Note lines 9 to 14 and notice the indentations of the lines.
“It is a sin to shove a book aside
                                with your foot,
a sin to slam books down
                hard on a table,
a sin to toss one carelessly
                across a room”
Note that the poet has done this purposely to accentuate the action described. Similar to when you kick a book, the sentence suddenly shifts to the right, as if you have kicked it into that position. In the same way when you slam a book hard on a table or toss it carelessly across the room you move the book, although perhaps not as far if you had kicked it, thus the exaggerated indentation in the first line.
2.       Similarly, the whole of the second stanza is indented. This shows perhaps a form of limitation or segregation between the two.
a.       The first stanza represents the ones unaffected by globalization and the western society. People who maintained their “original” culture.
b.      The second stanza represents those who chose to migrate and are bound to or favour the expat or international or western culture.
Note that although the degree of indentation is different, the border is the same. This means that the second stanza has less ‘line space’. This perhaps can address the issue that the thinking of the next generation is narrower and less open minded. It also shows how little in breath they know about their society and their heritage, especially one as rich as India.
3.       Assonance. This means that we can find internal syllables rhyming with each other. Note the word “book”, “foot”, “room”, “wood”, “swooping”. The significance of it being that perhaps with globalization, you still retain some of your heritage, which still allows you to be saved. Note how the four “oo” sounds can be found in the first stanza, while the last one is only found at the end. Perhaps this can be used as an index to show your level of knowledge of your past. Similarly, it can mean that you never really truly forget your culture, but perhaps lose a bit or remember little, no matter how much you are influenced by globalization, colonization or one of those –izations. Especially in places like America, a lot of the Asians are Westernised, but keep parts of their heritage alive, perhaps like eating Chinese food or something.
4.       Free verse.
a.       This demonstrates the fact that the poem is a completely free and is basically used to vent the poet’s opinions on the matter. She perhaps is saying that her opinion belongs to her and she just wishes to express them onto the world. She could perhaps be saying that she is not right, nor is she saying that globalization is necessarily a bad thing.
b.      On the other hand, she could be saying that globalization or westernization is a completely different thing, a phenomena that humans have not ever experienced in the history of us living together. It breaks all conventions as it has never been done before, similar to how this poem, with its free verse and peculiar paragraphing, breaks all conventions of a typical poem.
5.       The whole poem is in English. This completely contradicts the fact that she is ranting about the change in culture and language and the horrible effects of the something-ization when she is speaking the language caused by it. She is in this way putting herself not on the pedestal but beside it, saying that she is one of the stupid something-ized people to create an empathy link between the reader and the poet, perhaps making it look as if  ‘we can do this together’ kind of image. She is putting herself in the humble position.
 
Text level analysis
1.       “Great Pan is not dead; he simply emigrated to India” Take note that Great Pan is the only God ever died in Roman history. What she is saying here is that he is not dead, but actually emigrated to India. Take note that people tend to migrate to places that are more beneficial to us, showcasing the fact that India is a beautiful place to go to to live your life. She goes on to talk about this in the next line.
2.        “here the gods roam freely; disguised as snakes or monkeys…”  we can find juxtaposition here. How can one roam freely if you have to disguise yourself as something else? This once again relates to globalization or one of the –izations. Note that Pan is a Greek God and he has moved to India. Similarly, it can perhaps show that foreigners are allowed to roam freely and have been for many years, as long as they do not make their presence known. They do not separate themselves from the local people nor do they treat themselves any differently. Therefore they adopt the culture of the people and act accordingly, similar to how the Gods have to be succumb to be one of the animals that can be usually found in India (such as the snakes and monkeys) Become one of the crowd, and you will live a happy life.
3.       “Every tree is sacred
and it is a sin
to be rude to a book.
It is a sin to shove a book aside
with your foot,
a sin to slam books down
hard on a table,
a sin to toss one carelessly
across a room.
You must learn how to turn the pages gently
without disturbing Sarasvati,”
Here she continues her description, using the word sacred, relating to the divinity of the area, as if the area was a garden for Gods. However, she starts becoming negatives and starts listing what not to do. She uses the contrasting word, sin, to exemplify the vast contrast between the two and to make what you are not allowed to do a mortal sin, something that is almost a tragedy to do. Once again, note the repetition of the word sin, once again amplifying how terrible it is to do such a thing. At the end she explains her actions that we must learn to respect books and use them in such a way that would make Sarasvati, the God of the arts, happy.  The poet obviously treats poetry as an art so it would be normal for her to be mentioned.  Books, of course, hold history, and she is basically saying that we should respect our history (culture, heritage… wink wink)
4.       “without offending the tree
from whose wood paper was made.”
Of course by this she is saying that to not insult the tree, who sacrificed its life to make a work of art that we can do nothing else but enjoy and appreciate what it has done for us.
5.       “Which language ,
has not been the oppressor’s tongue?
Which language
Truly meant to murder someone?”
Here she is addressing the loss in language. Because of globalization, we are now speaking the tongue of the foreigners. It is this way that she is using this as a form of mockery to say
that ‘by speaking the language of the enemy, we have already given up mentally’. She is trying to say in a sense ‘wake up! Can’t you see what you’re doing? Why are you speaking the tongue of our enemies? Which language destroyed (murdered) our heritage/culture?’ It can be a slap to the dignity and the inner heritage of every man.

Oppressor à Conquerer
6.       “And how does it happen
that after the torture,
after the soul has been cropped
with a long scythe swooping out
of the conqueror’s face-
the unborn grandchildren
grow to love that strange language.”
This is obviously an attack on the morals of every man in India, basically by trying to get them guilty. Of course here she is saying that the something-izers have caused a lot of turmoil in a country that was otherwise very happy before. They have tortured us and made us do things we didn’t like (after the torture,after the soul has been cropped with a long scythe swooping out of the conqueror’s face-)perhaps either physically or mentally, or both. Why is it that after all this time that the next generation (unborn grandchildren) are going to grow up in that strange language? This demonstrates the despair in the heart of the poet as she already knows that the children are about to adopt the language of the foreigners, perhaps because the father or mother have already grown to love that language because it is already so deeply ingrained into the minds of the people that make up the society. They don’t even know how to talk their own native language anymore. The fact that she mentions grandchild illustrates the fact that she is talking to the elders, the ones most considered wise in almost every society. This shows that she is talking to them, indicating that getting an audience with them is hard and that only people with relevant arguments can arrange a meeting with them, making her argument a very significant one.
7.       The use of repetition in the last stanza “which language”. In addition to the phrase being on its own line, this phrase exudes an accusive tone in her phrase, expressing severe criticalness in her expression.
 
Speaker of the poemThe writer herself. Sujata Bhatt
 
Speaker’s attitude toward the subject of the poemDissatisfied, distressed, hopeful, still optimistic that we can change, moralistic, relies of emotions rather than logic (emotional)
 
Paired poems (Identify poems in the anthology and why they are appropriate to be paired)
1.       Perhaps The Planners in the sense of inevitability and distress over the fact that nothing will ever be the same again and how fake everything really is and how different it is compared to the past. It also in a sense mocks the system that governs the development implying that it causes more damage than good.
2.       Where I come from in the sense of the comparison between urbanization and rural atmosphere. We can to a certain extent say the same as India was really quite a rural area before one of those –izations.
3.       Where I come from as we can see a similar style in structure as they are split to show a bigger contrast and that there is a indentation in the beginning of the second stanza.
 
Memorable lines
1.       “You must learn how to turn the pages gently without disturbing Sarasvati”
2.       “Here the gods roam freely, disguised as snakes or monkeys”
3.       “without offending the tree from whose wood the paper was made”
4.       “Which language truly meant to murder someone?”

 

Class 2 Poetry: Pied Beauty

 

Pied Beauty is a short poem full of old English words.

First you need to translate these words to understand the poem!

You can argue that this poem is a response against Charles Darwin because it thanks God for the variety of life on the planet.

 

“Pied Beauty” (1877)

Complete Text

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.

 

Summary

The poem opens with an offering: “Glory be to God for dappled things.” In the next five lines, Hopkins elaborates with examples of what things he means to include under this rubric of “dappled.” He includes the mottled white and blue colors of the sky, the “brinded” (brindled or streaked) hide of a cow, and the patches of contrasting color on a trout. The chestnuts offer a slightly more complex image: When they fall they open to reveal the meaty interior normally concealed by the hard shell; they are compared to the coals in a fire, black on the outside and glowing within. The wings of finches are multicolored, as is a patchwork of farmland in which sections look different according to whether they are planted and green, fallow, or freshly plowed. The final example is of the “trades” and activities of man, with their rich diversity of materials and equipment.

In the final five lines, Hopkins goes on to consider more closely the characteristics of these examples he has given, attaching moral qualities now to the concept of variety and diversity that he has elaborated thus far mostly in terms of physical characteristics. The poem becomes an apology for these unconventional or “strange” things, things that might not normally be valued or thought beautiful. They are all, he avers, creations of God, which, in their multiplicity, point always to the unity and permanence of His power and inspire us to “Praise Him.”

Form

This is one of Hopkins’s “curtal” (or curtailed) sonnets, in which he miniaturizes the traditional sonnet form by reducing the eight lines of the octave to six (here two tercets rhyming ABC ABC) and shortening the six lines of the sestet to four and a half. This alteration of the sonnet form is quite fitting for a poem advocating originality and contrariness. The strikingly musical repetition of sounds throughout the poem (“dappled,” “stipple,” “tackle,” “fickle,” “freckled,” “adazzle,” for example) enacts the creative act the poem glorifies: the weaving together of diverse things into a pleasing and coherent whole.

Commentary

This poem is a miniature or set-piece, and a kind of ritual observance. It begins and ends with variations on the mottoes of the Jesuit order (“to the greater glory of God” and “praise to God always”), which give it a traditional flavor, tempering the unorthodoxy of its appreciations. The parallelism of the beginning and end correspond to a larger symmetry within the poem: the first part (the shortened octave) begins with God and then moves to praise his creations. The last four-and-a-half lines reverse this movement, beginning with the characteristics of things in the world and then tracing them back to a final affirmation of God. The delay of the verb in this extended sentence makes this return all the more satisfying when it comes; the long and list-like predicate, which captures the multiplicity of the created world, at last yields in the penultimate line to a striking verb of creation (fathers-forth) and then leads us to acknowledge an absolute subject, God the Creator. The poem is thus a hymn of creation, praising God by praising the created world. It expresses the theological position that the great variety in the natural world is a testimony to the perfect unity of God and the infinitude of His creative power. In the context of a Victorian age that valued uniformity, efficiency, and standardization, this theological notion takes on a tone of protest.

Why does Hopkins choose to commend “dappled things” in particular? The first stanza would lead the reader to believe that their significance is an aesthetic one: In showing how contrasts and juxtapositions increase the richness of our surroundings, Hopkins describes variations in color and texture—of the sensory. The mention of the “fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls” in the fourth line, however, introduces a moral tenor to the list. Though the description is still physical, the idea of a nugget of goodness imprisoned within a hard exterior invites a consideration of essential value in a way that the speckles on a cow, for example, do not.

The image transcends the physical, implying how the physical links to the spiritual and meditating on the relationship between body and soul. Lines five and six then serve to connect these musings to human life and activity. Hopkins first introduces a landscape whose characteristics derive from man’s alteration (the fields), and then includes “trades,” “gear,” “tackle,” and “trim” as diverse items that are man-made. But he then goes on to include these things, along with the preceding list, as part of God’s work.

Hopkins does not refer explicitly to human beings themselves, or to the variations that exist among them, in his catalogue of the dappled and diverse. But the next section opens with a list of qualities (“counter, original, spare, strange”) which, though they doggedly refer to “things” rather than people, cannot but be considered in moral terms as well; Hopkins’s own life, and particularly his poetry, had at the time been described in those very terms. With “fickle” and “freckled” in the eighth line, Hopkins introduces a moral and an aesthetic quality, each of which would conventionally convey a negative judgment, in order to fold even the base and the ugly back into his worshipful inventory of God’s gloriously “pied” creation.

Class 1 Poetry