Christina Rossetti Essay
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During this essay I will be comparing two poems, both written by women, and both have same theme, the poems were written a century apart and are written about woman who were taken advantage of by a man, both women in the poems become pregnant and keep the child. The poem “Cousin Kate” was written in the 19th century by a poet named Christina Georgina Rossetti, it portrays a story of chastity and double standards. It demonstrates how life was for women working in jobs such as a maiden in the eighteen hundreds, and how higher figures in society used their wealth and status to take advantage of them.
A lord tricks the maid into having sex, and gets her pregnant, then later marries her “Cousin Kate”, who cannot have children, “Yet I’ve a gift you have not got, and seem not like to get. ” She speaks kindly of Kate at the beginning and then gets bitter by verse 5. The maid knows that the lord would give everything he had to have a child and she is not sorry for what happened because the lord was not honorable to her and used her. Even though she is the victim she is the one that the neighbors call “an outcast thing” Where as her cousin Kate is spoken of as “good and pure” and because Cousin Kate did not have sex with the lord he married her.
I think that the poet has included a few sub texts in this poem and also has written a few play on words like She was “hardened by sun and air” and her son is the lords only son therefore he is the heir to all of the lord belongings, land and wealth, and she wouldn’t give her child up for any of it, because she knows one day her son will inherit it, when the lord dies. Eileen McAuley wrote “The seduction” in the 1980’s and I personally think that something similar to what happens in this poem happened to her, even though it is written in third person.
The male character in this poem makes no effort to woo the teenage girl, he gives her vodka and talks about himself, he then leads her to a riverside and seduces her. Before this, the girl used to read magazines about romance and fashion and it quotes “Where a stranger could lead you to new worlds, and how would you know if you never took a chance? “. The girl was influenced by romantic thoughts, she had her own ideas, and the boy thought of it as just sex, the same as “Cousin Kate” this girl was lured and tricked into sex, and the neighbors say “she always looked the type”.
In “Cousin Kate” the maid was seduced by wealth and status, and in “The Seduction” the girl was seduced by alcohol and led on by the reading of magazines such as “My guy” and “Jackie”. Both poems speak of the girls crying alone, “Even so I sit and howl in dust” and “She sobbed in the cool, locked in the darkness of her room. ” But where as in “The Seduction” the young girl cries because of all the innocents and fun she has missed the maid in “Cousin Kate” Cries because of the mistake she made of sleeping with the lord before they were married.
Both of these poems portray the women to be naive and innocent. Both characters (The Maid & The Young Girl) feel betrayed by the men, in “The Seduction” the poet writes about how the girl has missed out on petty things like Glossy horoscopes, “Full of fresh fruit diets – how did she feel betrayed? ” and in “Cousin Kate” the poet writes about how if she could marry the lord now she wouldn’t have and how her intensions were totally honorable but he just used her and discarded her, “I would have spit into his face, and not have taken his hand” .
In conclusion, both of these poems show how society looks down on pregnant young girls, and how times really haven’t changed over 100 years, it also demonstrates how in the 19th century a young poor girl could be seduced by wealth and status and still this happens in the 21st century. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE JRR Tolkien section.