Imagery and symbolism in My Own Heart, Let Me Have More Pity On

Blindness and thirst

Unusually for Hopkins, a simile, in the form of a comparison, is used to carry on his argument. In the second quatrain, he likens his inability to find comfort to a blind man being unable to find daylight or a thirsty man being unable to find water to drink whilst at sea- an image possibly borrowed from Coleridge's poem The Ancient Mariner.

The divided self

Otherwise, the sonnet is singularly bare in its imagery, a stark contrast to Hopkins' earlier sonnets in which each line was dense with images. This is a straightforward inner dialogue, which itself models the figure of the divided self, seen most dramatically in Carrion Comfort. The idea of mental torment is so commonplace now that it has ceased to be figurative. Even the idea of comfort finding ‘root-room' is hardly new, even though Hopkins' compound is.

The one image that does stand out is the final one. See Compounds in Language and tone.

Investigating My Own Heart
  • What is this final image, and why is it fitting here?
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