Language and tone in No Worst, There is None

Anguished calls

Hopkins' anguished tone is brought out in the language in several ways:

  • the diction includes the language of torment
  • there is the apostrophising of sources of comfort, who never come
  • the pathos of finding what little natural comfort there is for this ‘wretch' whom he now addresses - himself
  • Fury is personified.

So there are voices all around.

Repetition and compounds

There is a marked amount of repetition:

  • ‘Pitched...pitch'; ‘pangs...forepangs' (a birth image?); ‘Comforter....comforting'; ‘O the mind, mind...'
  • also the parallelism of ‘all / Life death does end' and ‘and each day dies with sleep'.

The insistence of the repetitions makes them memorable.

There are also several memorable compounds:

  • ‘herds-long'; ‘no-man-fathomed'.

As with several of these dark sonnets, there is a marked predeliction for monosyllables.

Investigating No Worst
  • Can you explain ‘Pitched past pitch'?
    • What sort of pitches is he talking about?
    • And what about ‘schooled at..'?
  • What is the effect of the internal rhymes in l.11?
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