Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Colours and Patterns

This motif feeds into Hopkins’s idea of inscape and instress. According to Hopkins, Each being has their own unique pattern and the colours and patterns that Hopkins delineates help the reader experience the uniqueness of those patterns. In Pied Beauty, Hopkins write about the diversity of beings and all the ways they assert their uniqueness. Those “dappled” things have their own inner patterns that make them different and fill them with life. The colours and patterns that Hopkins presents in his poems help him bring out this life on paper.


To Hopkins, the inscape of birds can be experienced by seeing their flights. In As Kingfishers Catch Fire, this idea is reiterated by the delineation of kingfishers and dragonflies. These birds hold within them the stamp of God and show the life that each being is filled with. The flight of the bird symbolizes this life.


Fire, as a motif and a symbol, denotes the life that is held within all beings. The poet believes that no being can actually just be an empty vessel but must foster a fire within it. This is a Christian idea in which fire denotes life and surfaces time and again in his poetry. One such example is As Kingfishers Catch Fire, in which the the flight of the birds is symbolized by “fire” and “flame”. this "fire" and "flame" denotes the life fostered within beings.

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