“THE CAGED SKYLARK”BY GERALD MANLEY HOPKINSPresentation by Emma Luengo
STANZA 1As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage, Mans mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells — That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;This in drudgery, day-labouring-out lifes age. Summary Just like a skylark trapped in a cage, man’s spirit is trapped in one’s body in the suffering that encompasses life.
ANALYSIS OF STANZA 1Rhyme scheme: ABBAJuxtaposition skylark compared with a human’s spirit Cage compared with a body of a humanSounds Dragging “d” sounds “dull” (ll. 1), “dwells” (ll. 2), “drudgery” (ll. 4), and “day” (ll. 4) Other long sounds “bone” (ll. 2), “house” (ll. 2), “free fells” (ll. 3), and “labouring” (ll. 3)o Long sounds and multiple clauses in one sentence reflect how long life is for a spirit.
STANZA 2Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage Both sing sometímes the sweetest, sweetest spells, Yet both droop deadly sómetimes in their cellsOr wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.Summary Both the birds and the human soul sometimes sing happily, sorrowfully, and other times try to escape from their cage at times, regardless of where they are.
ANALYSIS OF 2ND STANZARhyme scheme: CBBC The interlocking stanzas furthers the juxtaposition between the skylark and the humanMetaphor “turf or perch or low stage” (ll. 5) Indicates different stages of life
ANALYSIS OF 2ND STANZASounds Soft “s” sounds indicate positive times during life “sweetest, sweetest spells” (ll. 6) Long “d” sounds indicate sad times during life “droop deadly” (ll. 7)o Sharp “b” sounds indicate times discontentment or anger during life o “barriers in bursts” (ll. 8)
SHIFT FROM 2ND TO 3RD STANZA The poem shifts from quatrains to tercets. Similarly, the juxtaposition becomes a metaphor The skylark symbolizes the human’s spirit. The cage symbolizes the human’s body.
STANZA 3Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest —Why, hear him, hear him babble & drop down to his nest, But his own nest, wild nest, no prison. Summary A human’s spirit does not ultimately have unlimited freedom as the spirit needs a home within a idealistic form of the body.
3RD STANZA ANALYSISSounds “hear him, babble and drop down to his nest” (ll. 10). The negative “b” sound in “babble” and “d” sound in “drop down” indicates that the bird too much freedom is harmful for the bird. The positive “s” sounds in “nest” show that the nest is the true home of the soul.Metaphor Nest is symbolically the body. Though a body can be constricting at times, it is where the soul belongs.
STANZA 4Mans spirit will be flesh-bound, when found at best,But uncumberèd: meadow-down is not distressed For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.Summary A human’s spirit can be expressed best within a perfected, glorified body, which can only be achieved after death.
ANALYSIS OF 4TH STANZARhyme scheme: DFGSymbolismo “Bones risen” (ll. 13) describe the death of the flawed mortal body.o “Rainbow” (ll. 13) decribes heaven.
ANALYSIS OF 4TH STANZASoundo There are many positive soft “s” sounds that describe the body o “flesh” (ll. 12), “best” (12), “not distressed” (13). o Illustrates that this reuniting of the spirit and the body is ideal.
EVALUATION OF POEM “A poem begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life-not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.”-Robert Frost
IT IS A GREAT POEM“As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,” (ll.1) First line immediately draws a reader’s attention and provides context of the poem. It illustrates one of the important themes of the poem, freedom vs. confinement.
IT IS A GREAT POEMMiddle of the poem The middle of the poem does “run a course of lucky events,” because it effectively contrasts the flawed mortal body with the ideal eternal body by using sound and diction.End of the poem Clarfication of life- The end of the poem expresses the idea that a human’s spirit will ultimately reunite with a perfect version of the human body.