CSEC English

Stabroek News Sunday - - CSEC ENGLISH -

Hello there! Can you be­lieve that we’re in De­cem­ber al­ready? And soon you’ll be head­ing off for the Christ­mas hol­i­days! Have fun, stay safe, and be kind. To­day we look at an­other poem on the CSEC syl­labus, and we show you how you can im­prove your writ­ing with more in­ter­est­ing sen­tence con­struc­tions. Read on, and en­joy!

ENGLISH B— Po­etry (2018-2020) To­day’s poem for dis­cus­sion is God’s Grandeur Hop­kins.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shin­ing from shook foil; It gath­ers to a great­ness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Gen­er­a­tions have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, be­ing shod.

And for all this, na­ture is never spent;

There lives the dear­est fresh­ness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morn­ing, at the brown brink east­ward, springs — Be­cause the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Man­ley Hop­kins was a Ro­man Catholic pri­est, so, not sur­pris­ingly, his ex­pe­ri­ence of Na­ture is blended with his rev­er­ence for God. This poem is a son­net. In the first eight lines (the oc­tave) the speaker tells us that the world can­not help but show forth the ‘grandeur’ of God: it is ‘charged’ with that grandeur—charged like a bat­tery, and charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of man­i­fest­ing God’s glory. Why, then, the speaker asks, do men refuse to be guided by God’s laws (not reck his rod)? In­stead of obey­ing God, one gen­er­a­tion af­ter an­other seems bent on spoil­ing this lovely earth: it is seared with trade (be­cause ev­ery­thing is about money) and smeared with toil (be­cause peo­ple have to work slav­ishly in a profit-driven so­ci­ety), and man has lost touch with Na­ture (just as some­one wear­ing shoes can no longer feel the grass or sand be­neath his feet: ‘nor can foot feel, be­ing shod’.

In the fi­nal six lines (the ses­tet) the anx­ious mood of the oc­tave is left be­hind, and a note of hope is in­jected into the poem. For all this (de­spite man’s sin­ful love of money and profit), Na­ture is ‘never spent’, but is con­stantly be­ing re­newed: ‘There lives the dear­est fresh­ness deep down things’. Just as night (‘last lights’) gives way to day (‘morn­ing springs’), so Na­ture is for­ever be­ing re­stored. How is this? Ac­cord­ing to the speaker, it’s be­cause the pow­er­ful en­ergy that first cre­ated the world is still at work: the ‘Holy Ghost over the bent/ World broods’ bring­ing new life into all things.

Tone: As you can see, the tone of the poem is deeply rev­er­ent and joy­fully op­ti­mistic about the pos­si­bil­ity of re­demp­tion.

Po­etic de­vices:

• Puns: The world is ‘charged’ with the grandeur. Charged has two mean ings: the first taken from elec­tri­cal charges and the sec­ond mean­ing to be given re­spon­si­bil­ity for some­thing. This is ef­fec­tive be­cause it makes us think about the dy­namism of God’s glory shin­ing through ev­ery­thing, but also re­minds us that we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to show God’s glory in our words and deeds. The phrase ‘bent world’ is a pun. The world ap­pears ‘bent’ be­cause it is a ball, but morally the world is ‘bent’—mean­ing crooked. It’s ef­fec­tive be­cause the first mean­ing sug­gests the vast­ness of the curve over which the Holy Ghost broods while the sec­ond mean­ing re­minds us of the sin­ful­ness that is for­ever need­ing for­give­ness and restora­tion.

• Metaphor: The Holy Ghost is com­pared to a bird on its nest through the use of the words ‘broods’, ‘warm breast’ and ‘bright wings’. The ef­fect is to give us a sense of the love that God has for us, car­ing for us just as a bird cares for its young.

• Sim­i­les: ‘like shin­ing from shook foil’. When you shake alu­minum foil and it catches the light, the shin­ing will flame out. The speaker as­serts that God’s grandeur sim­i­larly flames out of ev­ery cre­ated thing. The sim­ile is ef­fec­tive be­cause we are fa­mil­iar with the way foil flashes in the light, so we can un­der­stand that it is in the very na­ture of things that they will show forth God’s glory. (These are im­por­tant de­vices, but if you search you will also find ex­am­ples of al­lit­er­a­tion, as­so­nance, rep­e­ti­tion and ar­chaic lan­guage, and al­lu­sion—to the Bi­b­li­cal story of Cre­ation.)

Com­par­i­son with other po­ems by Ger­ard Man­ley

You will en­joy com­par­ing Hop­kins’ poem with David Ru­bidari’s. Both are about Na­ture, but where Rubadiri just wants to show us the way the storm plays with the lit­tle African vil­lage, toss­ing and whirling its way, Hop­kins med­i­tates on Na­ture only in or­der to tell us about man’s sin­ful­ness AND God’s will­ing­ness to re­deem and re­store. His is a very re­li­gious re­sponse, while Ru­bidari’s is more sen­su­ous and de­scrip­tive. Hop­kins’ poem is slow mov­ing and thought­ful while Ru­bidari’s is en­er­getic and vis­ual. Find more sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences, and then de­cide which poem you pre­fer, and why.

Dress up your sen­tence!

Let’s ex­plore a cou­ple of ways in which you can make a sen­tence more in­ter­est­ing, and more ef­fec­tive. We’ll start with ad­jec­tives and ad­verbs.

Ad­jec­tives mod­ify nouns, and ad­verbs mod­ify verbs. Look at this sen­tence: The man walked along the road. Now let’s see what hap­pens when we add an ad­jec­tive and an ad­verb:

• The • The • The

el­derly man walked wearily along the road. wanted man walked cau­tiously along the road. strange man walked jaun­tily along the road.

You can see how those mod­i­fiers bring new mean­ing to the sen­tence, can’t you?

How about chang­ing the word or­der to em­pha­sise the mood of the man?

• Wearily, the el­derly man walked along the road. • Cau­tiously, the wanted man walked along the road. • Jaun­tily, the strange man walked along the road.

How about mak­ing the verb more in­ter­est­ing?

• Wearily, the el­derly man stag­gered along the road. • Cau­tiously, the wanted man crept along the road. • Jaun­tily, the strange man strut­ted along the road.

Your Turn Now It’s fun to dress up your sen­tences! Try it with these ex­am­ples:

• The girl moved to­wards the door. • The child looked at the dog.


Here are 15 words that are a bit tricky. Ask some­one to test you, and make sure you can spell them. Write down any that you get wrong, and learn them. El­i­gi­ble, em­bar­rass, en­cour­age­ment, ex­ag­ger­ate, ex­ces­sive, ex­hil­a­rat­ing, ex­is­tence, ex­ten­sion, fas­ci­nate, mis­chievous, filthy, main­te­nance, for­eign, gen­eros­ity, griev­ous.


Mak­ing the verb agree with the sub­ject is not al­ways easy. Here are some teasers to set you think­ing.

1. The club’s pres­i­dent, along with sev­eral se­nior mem­bers of the club, was/were

at the air­port to wel­come their coun­ter­parts from Bar­ba­dos. 2. Colin is one of the tech­ni­cians who was/were dis­sat­is­fied with the pro­pos­als

made for up­grad­ing the lab­o­ra­tory fa­cil­i­ties. 3. Cher­ille is the only mem­ber of the group of sixth-form stu­dents who

ob­jects/ob­ject to mak­ing Caribbean Stud­ies com­pul­sory. 4. The lo­cal doc­tor, who con­sulted with nurses and phar­ma­cists in the three vil lages, rec­og­nizes/rec­og­nize that use of the me­dia for health ed­u­ca­tion is ur­gently needed. 5. This news­pa­per has made sev­eral re­ports about the in­creas­ing num­ber of vio

lent crimes that threat­ens/threaten our peace of mind. 6. Res­i­dents in the area re­port that the num­ber of stray dogs has/have in­creased,

as too has/have the in­ci­dence of ra­bies. 7. The deaf is/are to ben­e­fit from this new ini­tia­tive, but the rich in the so­ci­ety

has/have to pitch in to keep the pro­gramme go­ing. 8. As soon as the alarm went off, the po­lice was/were called in, and the army

was/were put on alert. 9. The com­mit­tee is/are un­able to agree among them­selves on one of the de­tails of

the case. 10. Quite a num­ber of cor­rec­tions needs/need to be made in your let­ter be­fore you

send it off.


1. pres­i­dent was 2. tech­ni­cians were 3. only one who ob­jects 4. doc­tor rec­og­nizes 5. crimes threaten 6. num­ber has…in­ci­dence has 7. deaf are…rich have 8. po­lice were…army was 9. are (be­cause of “them­selves”, which makes the com­mit­tee plu­ral rather than sin­gu­lar) 10. cor­rec­tions need

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.