Imagery and symbolism in I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark

The symbolism of night and light, and the image of the dead letters have been mentioned, as has the imagery of bitterness in terms of indigestion.


The other memorable image is that of yeast, especially the compound word ‘selfyeast'; the ‘selfyeast of [Hopkins']spirit' produces only sourdough. This is a homely and straightforward image, made dramatic by the compound. It has biblical associations of contamination, from the injunction of Jesus to beware the ‘yeast of the Pharisees' Matthew 16:11-12


The ‘fell of dark' is interesting. Hopkins has used ‘fell' in No Worst, There is None, in the sense of ‘fierce' or ‘terrible'. It could mean that here, too, but ‘a fell' is also an animal skin, giving the impression of some fierce, smothering force over him as he wakes – the stuff of nightmares.

Investigating I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark
  • Why would you say Hopkins has moved away from nature imagery to images of bodily functions?
  • Collect all the images of the body and comment on the list.
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