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A Comparison between Cousin Kate and The Seduction

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Shyama Sodha 10SG 17th June 2009 A Comparison between 'Cousin Kate' and 'The Seduction' 'Cousin Kate' was written by Christina Rossetti in the nineteenth century, and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McCauley in the twentieth century. The two poems are both based on the narrator's ideas of love. In this essay I will be comparing the two poems. 'Cousin Kate' was written a while ago, so includes traditional and slightly older ways of life. It is about a lower class woman, referred to as the cottage maiden, who was wooed by a Lord. He uses her and obviously doesn't see her as more than a mistress, whereas the cottage maiden has fallen in love with him. When the Lord sees her cousin Kate who is prettier, he immediately pushes the cottage maiden aside to be with her. This results in the marriage of the Lord and her Cousin Kate, and the cottage maiden being left alone with her reputation ruined. ...read more.


'So now I moan an unclean thing, Who might have been a dove'. The 'unclean' shows she feels dirty for what she did and reflecting back on it she regrets it because she could have been a 'dove', i.e. pure. The poet uses a lot of comparisons in the poem, for example, 'Changed me like a glove'. This comparison is used to describe how she was treated using powerful imagery. She also uses comparisons to compare her to her cousin. 'You grew more fair than I'. This shows she is comparing herself to her cousin to get across the reason that the Lord chose her cousin over her. The classic and basic structure of the poem ties in with the traditional ways of life at the time, being people's attitude towards life and women in particular. The rhyming scheme is also basic with every alternate line rhyming in eight lined stanzas. ...read more.


He takes her in the dark to an isolated and deserted river where they can't be seen. 'Far from the blind windows of the tower block', shows that they are far from any people where even the sound of his 'leather jacket creaking madly' can be heard. This gives it a sinister feel. The language used is quite modern. The poet uses strong imagery to describe the surroundings and the situation. 'Green as a septic wound'. This strong image describes the lake to be quite disgusting and very unromantic. She also describes her head to be 'rolling' which clearly suggests the extent to which she is drunk. The structure of the poem is quite simple with four lines in a stanza, and with a simple rhyming pattern. Overall, I prefer the 'Cottage Maiden' because it is more of a traditional story with less sinister and creepy situations, and the attitudes of that time were better and everything was more innocent. I also prefer the way in which it was written as opposed to the modern and occasionally slang language of 'The Seduction'. ...read more.

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