Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gerard Manley Hopkins - Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord

The man speaking in this poem seems to be begging God for answers in the midst of very adverse times. He seems to be struggling to stay a good man and away from the sinner's way of life. He asks God, "Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must; Dissappointment all I endeavour end?" (pg 778, lines 3-4). I find this to be similar to the saying, "Nice guys finish last." If you think about it, the saying is quite accurate. For example, drug dealers steal, kill, and sell illegal substances that are harmful to the human mind and body. Nevertheless, they make far more money than the good Christian man that works twelve hour shifts at McDonald's or in a factory. The drug dealer lives a sinner's way of life, and is very prosperous, but the good Christian man struggles to earn money and "make due" the honest way. Also, oftentimes people that would like to work honest jobs cannot find work or are constantly denied work, resulting in having to turn to the sinner's way of life in order to survive.

When times get tough, many people turn to God. They become so desperate that they ask why they deserve such treatment. Manley writes, "Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend," (pg 778, line 5). I have been in this position a few times in my life. It makes you stop to ask God, "Are you against me? I thought you loved me! Are you on my side as my savior and my friend, or are you my enemy?" That is exactly what is the case in the poem! The man in the poem is talking to God and asking for help. "Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain." (pg 778, line 14). I feel this translates to, "Please God! Help me!" When I read poems like this, it reminds me of the struggles and obstacles that people must overcome in life. I strongly believe that although the sinner's way of life may look easier and more prosperous, God's path will always lead you to the right place. In my opinion, no matter what situation I go through or what I may be struggling with, talking to God is always the best choice.

3 comments:

TonyP said...

Even though I did not concentrate on this peom, I really enjoyed your analysis of it. It was so refreshing reading your take on this poem and thanks for sharing your experiences. We all tend to question God when we see others are prospering who are not Christians and we who are serving the Lord are less successful. But as the Bible states, " God reigns on the just and on the unjust" and it is only the devil trying to discourage us as Christians from following God ways. As you have stated that you strongly believe that although the sinner's way of life may look easier and more prosperous, God's path will always lead you to the right place. This I do agree with and I could not agree with you more that no matter what situation you are going through or may be struggling with, talking to God is always the best choice. He always provides a way out.

I appreciate your great insight.

Jonathan.Glance said...

Mishawn,

Very good focus on and analysis of Hopkins's poem, with apt choice of quotations and insightful commentary. I like the way you demonstrate your engagement with the poem by relating it to events in our current society.

LindsayAnn said...

It is always easy to question God when things are not going as planned. He says "Why do sinners ways prosper?" He is implying non-believes. But what perplexed me is that we are all sinners. With that in mid is he meaning why do any of us prosper? or why do only the worst sinners prosper? Then again, all sin is the same before God. It seems like we are all destined to finish last, whether we are sinners or not. But it is the hope of God that is a believer’s prosperous endeavor.