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Comparison of ‘Cousin Kate’ and ‘The Seduction’ Essay

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After she has taken the decision about what to do about the lord, she hints that she regrets her relationship with the lord by asking questions. The girl in ‘The Seduction’ also admits that she regrets her fling with the boy by asking questions, the tenth, eleventh and twelfth stanzas are all asking questions for example “how did she feel betrayed? “. Both of the poems make the reader feel sorry for the girls featured in them. ‘The Seduction’ makes you feel sorry for the girl by using phrases such as “and he muttered little slag” and ‘”she sobbed in the cool locked, darkness of her room”.

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From these phrases you learn that the girl is unaware of what the boy is really thinking about her. She also seems to be unaware that she could get pregnant. ‘Cousin Kate’ makes you feel sorry for the maid by using phrases such as “Not mindful I was fair” and “now I moan an unclean thing that might have been a dove”. These phrases tell the reader that she was innocent and unaware of the consequences when she met the lord. I feel more sorry for the maid in ‘Cousin Kate’ than the girl in ‘The Seduction’. This is because I feel that although the girl in ‘The Seduction’ knew what she was doing was wrong, she did it anyway.

She didn’t have to have sex with him and although she liked him and it appeared that he liked her she should have known better. I feel more sorry for the maid because she says “O cousin Kate my love was true, your love was writ in sand”. She truly loved the lord, more than she believes Kate does. The maid also seems innocent. Another reason I feel sorry for the maid is even when she was with the lord, they didn’t have a proper relationship, he didn’t treat her very well. She felt like his ‘plaything’. She didn’t mean anything to him. In ‘The Seduction’ the atmosphere is conveyed well.

In the beginning of the poem there is a sense that something will go wrong. Descriptive phrases such as “the quiet bricks”, “far past the silver stream of traffic” and “far from the blind windows” are a sign that things do not all go well. The adjectives are used to show that no one will be around to see what’s going on. Another sign that something is going to go wrong is that the poem keeps reminding the reader that the girl is very drunk. We are twice reminded about the number of drinks she’s had, these are “he handed her the vodka and she knocked it back like water” and “as he bought her more drinks”.

The poem says she sat “her head rolling forward”. This shows that the girl is not in control of what she is doing. The imagery used in the poem is not very positive. The girl is said to be “facing the frightening scum on the water”. The use of ‘frightening scum’ gives a very unpleasant image of the water. In the beginning of the poem the scum she faces is only on the top of that water, in the later stages of the poem, she feels the scum facing her is the rest of her life. “The Mersey, green as a septic wound” is also a negative simile. It gives a bad image of the setting, which gives an image of bad things to come.

After the girl has discovered she is pregnant, the atmosphere is very powerful. Using strong verbs such as ‘ripped’ and ‘flung’, ‘cheated’, creates this. At the end of the poem the girl is very depressed. She says: “Better to starve yourself like a sick precocious child- Than to walk through town with a belly huge and ripe. ” We anticipate what will happen in the future. The atmosphere also changed in ‘Cousin Kate’. In the beginning of the poem the atmosphere is good. The maids says “contented with my cottage mates” which tells me that she is happy with her life before she met the lord. After this point she becomes angry and depressed.

This is because the lord has left her for Kate. She becomes enraged and jealous. I believe that ‘The Seduction’ is aimed at a younger audience than ‘Cousin Kate’. ‘The Seduction’ uses much simpler language, although this could be because ‘The Seduction’ was written much later. Both poems warn about pregnancy but ‘The Seduction’ is easier to understand for people my age. I found ‘The Seduction’ easier to understand and relate to because the language is more modern. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid says “the neighbours call you good and pure, call me an outcast thing”. In ‘The Seduction’ it says: “And better now, to turn away, move away, fade away,

Than to have the neighbours whisper that you always looked the type”. In both examples the girls are worried about what other people (the neighbours) think of them. The mood of both poems is quite angry. In ‘Cousin Kate’, the mood changes from excitement to anger and jealousy. The maid is excited because about her future with the lord and their relationship. She is then angry about the lord leaving her to be with Kate. She is jealous of Kate because she took the lord away from her. However, the maid also feels quite proud because she has a son and Kate does not, she is smug. In ‘The Seduction’ the mood also changes from excitement to anger.

She too is excited about her relationship with the man. She is angry because the man left her, instead of feeling proud or smug at the end of the poem, she is depressed. The tones of the two poems are very different. In ‘Cousin Kate’, the writer (Rosetti) seems to be very sympathetic to the maid. She says that the maid has sex with the lord because she loves him and does not criticize her behaviour or suggest that she has done anything wrong by doing this. The tone of ‘The Seduction’ however, does seem to criticize the girl. The writer (McAuley) seems to criticise the girls behaviour, she makes out that the girl deserves what happens.

The phrase “and he muttered little slag” suggests this. I have found ‘The Seduction’ easier to understand, mainly because the language is simpler and the images described are more modern. However I prefer the imagery used in ‘Cousin Kate’ because I feel it is more original and interesting. I prefer phrases such as “his plaything and his love” and “he wore me like a silken knot” to his “eyes as blue as iodine” and “green as a septic wound”. On the other hand, I think the symbolism used in ‘The Seduction’ is very effective, i. e. the confetti and the high white shoes.

I feel that the main reason I prefer ‘The Seduction’ is it’s easier to relate to for my age group. It is very hard to imagine what it would be like to be singled out by a great lord and then to be left for her cousin and having the lords baby on the way. I find it much easier to relate to ‘The Seduction’ as I can understand how it must feel to have a ‘one night stand’ and then become pregnant. 1 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.

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