Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John Pick


The kinds of human experience from which a poet draws inspirations are many and varied. In a basic way these experiences are alike, however. They all contain within them an element of the drama of that adventure which is human living. The poet's role is to interpret that drama--to see in that concrete reality a universal truth. Thus, the poet chooses from his source of inspiration those aspects of the drama which will best convey the universal truth which has been his particular vision in dealing with his inspiration. This process is most vividly seen in the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins of whom H.B. McNamee says that the truths of the order of grace have become so second nature that they pervade his every thought. 1 An excellent example of this poet's particular vision at work can be found in that masterpiece which introduces the mature period of his poetry, The Wreck of the Deutschland. The element of drama in Hopkins' source is obvious: a shipwreck in which, after a night of horror, amidst blinding snow and bitter cold, seventy-eight lives were lost. What the poet chooses to say about this human drama is not as evident; it is yielded to us only after deep thought about the poem.