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Rossetti(TM)s poems are an odd mixture of revelation and secrecy. Write about Winter: My Secret(TM) and Maude Clare(TM).

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Introduction

"Rossetti's poems are an odd mixture of revelation and secrecy." Write about 'Winter: My Secret' and 'Maude Clare'. Christina Rossetti is often calculated as a secretive, enigmatic character. Much is assumed about her from her poetry though little is actually known. It is difficult to draw conclusions from her poems regarding their content and meaning due to their intentional ambiguity. It is still debatable what messages, if any, many of her poems may be trying to convey. In Winter: My Secret, though the title insinuates that there is a secret, it is unclear as to whether Rossetti is writing about an existing secret or about the concept of a secret. The original manuscript of the poem was titled Nonsense and so there is a possibility that all it is, is nonsense - that there is no secret or message within the poem - and that the poem is purely an expression of poetic ability. However, the poem's contents lead the reader to believe that there is a secret - 'you may guess' insinuates that there is a secret, in comparison to 'I won't tell' which, to some, implies that there is nothing to tell. ...read more.

Middle

The idea that the poem is about someone who keeps her heart a secret is supported by: I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows His nose to Russian snows To be pecked at by every wind that blows? In that the wind is a changeable force that represents other people and their fickle nature. The nose in place of the heart, as it has stronger senses and awareness. Russian snows as love, as it is the harshest form of its kind, and pecking as being hurt by other people. "You would not peck? I thank you for good will" supports this further, as it can be translated as someone offering her love and telling her that they wouldn't hurt her and the narrator rejecting them - 'Believe, but leave that truth untested still'. The narrator continues to relate the secret to the seasons, which complicates the opinion that the secret is the means to her heart. She dismisses spring as the season in which she'd expose her secret because of the vulnerability of the frosted flowers and the sunless hours - which discourage her from revealing her secret as she may be 'pecked at'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the original Maude Clare, the characters within the poem were represented and received very differently to how they are in the commonly referenced twelve-stanza poem. The fact that there are two published texts of the same poem by Christina Rossetti tell us a lot about how she writes and makes apparent the lack of a primarily thematic approach. The differences between the original poem and the 1862 version also show that Rossetti has a clear priority, to address the presentation of her poetry to a desired standard rather than its contents. Her ability to write objectively disproves assumptions that her poetry represents portions of her own life. Therefore, assumptions that her poems are secretive may be dismissed also, as the enigmatic manner throughout her poems may be as a result of editing to benefit the presentation of the poem in place of its contents, and not because she is indirectly sharing her secrets through her poems. Rossetti cryptically ties the meanings of her poems, if any deliberate meaning at all, to the content of the poem. Thus any revelation to be found about Rossetti is easily misinterpreted and often disagreed over. ...read more.

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