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  • 10 months ago
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Discuss Herbert’s use of imagery in the poems you have studied

 

Discuss Herbert’s use of imagery in the poems you have studied. [NU-‘17]



Ans. In a literary text, imagery is an author’s use of vivid and descriptive language to add depth to his work. It appeals to human senses to deepen the reader’s better understanding of the work. George Herbert also uses imagery in his poems ‘Easter Wings’ and ‘The Collar’.

Herbert’s ‘Easter Wings’ is a poem full of deep imagery not only in words but also in the visual structure of the stanzas. He has used huge amounts of mental imagery so that the reader can find new truths and meanings each time when he/she reads it. The poet desires to fly with Christ to share Jesus’ sacrifice, death and resurrection. The argument as to the proper lines decays in length, the imagery goes from bad to bleak and finally ending with the eventual poorness of mankind. As the poet is also a sinner, he wants to fly as a lark. He wants to enjoy Christ’s victory over death as we find in his concluding lines:

“Let me combine

And feel this day the victory;

For, if I imp my wing on thine,

Affliction shall advance the flight in me.”

His another poem ‘The Collar’ deals with the poet’s mental and spiritual conflicts, experienced in the course of his priestly life. His conflict and resentment, in other words, his rebellion against the church life has been beautifully expressed through the image of a rebel striking the board and defying the holy order. Further the images of road, wind, store, harvest, thorn, blood, cordial fruit, sighs and tears, flowers and garlands, cage of imprisonment, rape of sands, good cable, skull etc. had been used to express different moods of the poet during his rebellion. But the images of ‘child’ and Father (‘My Lord’) wonderfully convey the poet’s reconciliation and whole-hearted surrender to the Divine Will. We find these images in the following lines:

“But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

And I replied, My Lord.”

We can conclude by stating that Herbert’s characteristic is that, he expresses everything by imagery and tries else to be concrete. He helps us to understand what he views as right and wrong.

In fact, he uses imagery throughout his poems to give us a sense into his life and his value system.

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