Christina Rossetti Essay
So this gives the cottage maiden some comfort that she knows this and he does not, it therefore gives her power over him and her cousin Kate. The narrator tells us what she would have said and done to the Lord if she had been in Kate’s position. There is loyalty in the narrator when she says she would have “spit in his face and not have taken his hand. ” Whether she would really have acted like this, we do not know, but the reader is made to believe that she wishes cousin Kate had done that, perhaps showing a hint of jealousy.
The beginning of the poem is in past tense, “I was a cottage maiden. ” The narrator is looking back, at this point, to what her life was like before she had met the Lord. This poem at no point refers to the feelings of Cousin Kate or the Lord. The narrator in “The Seduction” seems extremely distraught about her pregnancy. She rips up all her “My Guy and her Jackie photo-comics” and breaks the heels of the high white shoes which she had worn that night. To the reader, it seems like she is trying to destroy the memories and what happened the night of the party.
The girl realises that she is “truly frightened” and “cheated” by the promises only tacitly made in her comics. The comics show pictures of girls that are happy with their boyfriends, and stories that tell the teenage readers that everything will work itself out. The girl at the beginning of the story goes out of her way to look beautiful, to be more mature and grown up. Whereas now that she is pregnant, she does not wish to grow up, she wants to stay “innocent”. The girl looks back on her life before she met the boy, and tells the reader what her life could have been like.
She talks about day trips to Blackpool and “jumping all the rides”, now that she was pregnant she could not do either of these. “She cried that she had missed all the innocence around her” because having this baby would change her life, she would have to grow up quicker and so miss all the fun teenage years. The narrator talks about ways she thinks would be better to ruin her life than having a baby. She believes that it would be better to smoke “scented drugs” and “starve yourself, like a sick, precocious child” than to be in the “feminine void” of pregnancy.
The narrator is obviously extremely distressed about her situation; the reader is made to believe that she has not yet told her parents or even the boy of the pregnancy. Many things in “Cousin Kate” make it recognisable as having being written in the Victorian era. The obvious one is the archaic language used, “Woe’s me for joy thereof” is a perfect example. In modern day English it can be translated to mean “How sad I am that I was joyful about it. ” The people described in the poem are also a clue to the era in which it was written, there is a Lord and a cottage maiden.
Also the way the neighbours react to a pregnancy out of wedlock, nowadays this is quite common. The narrator was “not mindful [she] was fair. ” This is an old way of saying she did not know she was pretty, whereas the girl in “The Seduction” went out of her way the make herself look beautiful. This is also a difference between the attitudes of Victorian girls and girls of the 20th Century. The expression “little slag” used in “The Seduction” is also very common for its era, whereas the curse words in the era of “Cousin Kate” would be less abusive and harsh.
A peculiar rhyme scheme is used in “Cousin Kate”. Every other line in each stanza rhymes, whereas the rhyme scheme in “The Seduction” is not bound to a rule. In some stanzas, the second and forth lines rhyme, but in others, the first, third and fourth lines rhyme. The setting of the poems also shows the reader the time the poem was set. “Cousin Kate” lived in a cottage and worked “among the rye”. “The Seduction” is set at a friends party and also by “The Mersey, green as a septic wound. ” The filth and dirt of the location mirrors the way the boy treats her and the way the girl feels afterwards.
Things about at the two poems which are no different despite the gap of nearly a century and a half between them are the position the girls are in. They are both either pregnant or have a baby, both of the fathers do not love the girls. The girls both loved the males at the time although in someway regret what they did. There are boy problems involved even though the men in the poems were of a different class; in ‘Cousin Kate’ the man was a very upper class lord whereas the man in ‘The seduction’ was working class ‘He spat into the river, fumbled in a bag’.
These poems both contain different aspects of deceit. “Cousin Kate” because of the Lord leaving her for the younger cousin, and “The Seduction” because of the lies in the girls comics. Hayley Beynon 10G1 Page 1 Mr Jagger Hayley Beynon 10G1 Mr Jagger 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.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 13 November 2017
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