"The Way Through the Woods" by Gerald Manley Hopkins and "Binsey Poplars" by Rudyard Kipling.

Essay by snelliosHigh School, 11th grade April 2003

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Compare the two poets' representations of and attitudes to nature in 'The Way Through the Woods' and 'Binsey Poplars'.


These two poems, by Gerald Manley Hopkins and Rudyard Kipling respectively, are both concerned with how humans and how their presence among nature can have a negative effect. Both of these poems seem to agree that humans do have an influence on the natural evolution of nature; mainly due to the way humans interfere with nature. However, both of these poems illustrate different ways in the outcome of this interference.

Binsey Poplars, focuses on the destruction of nature; specifically the felling trees. In this poem the author (Gerald Manley Hopkins) displays many themes, directly relating to the humans devastation of the trees in Binsey.

But the most prominent theme exhibited throughout this poem is mankind's destructive attitude towards nature. Hopkins portrays mankind's destruction of nature as savage, senseless, and inhuman.

He shows humans with disregard towards nature, and its possible that Hopkins believes that the felling of the aspens is unnecessary, even a breach of the trees rights. This atmosphere is built up mostly in the second stanza, using phonological effects. The use of 'Hack' and 'rack', as assonance in line 11, induces a severe, enraged mood. The harsh sounds help build up this tone. These examples are also forms of internal rhyme. Which again emphasises the destruction. It could be argued that these words are indeed onomatopoeic, representing the sound of the actual trees being hewed to the ground, with an axe. Another instance of this destructive attitude is shown again, later in the second stanza: 'When we hew or delve'. Here again we can clearly see Hopkins view on the mindless way humans destroy nature; 'hew' shows the fierce destruction of the trees. Also, structural affects...