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Compare and contrast "Cousin Kate" by Christina Rossetti and "the seduction" by Eileen McCauley

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Compare and contrast "Cousin Kate" by Christina Rossetti and "the seduction" by Eileen McCauley These two poems although set in very different time periods share many similarities in their themes and characters. Cousin Kate is set in the 1700's where women were seen as men's possessions that they could do what they liked with. Women could have no real career. Their only way to get ahead in life was to marry into a rich family and become a good wife. It was set in a period where a single mother was seen as a sinner. "The seduction" is set in or around the late 1960's early 1970's. You would expect women's rights to change a lot in the few hundred years that had passes since cousin Kate, which they had to a degree, but single mothers were still frowned upon, men still took advantage of women although not as much as in the 1700's. The title "the seduction" is quite ironic as it makes you think of a romantic scene, but actually he is seducing her by "handing her the vodka" which makes this boy seem as though he cant get girls in any other way. ...read more.


By the time they get to the docks the girl is obviously completely inebriated by the vodka "and sat in the dark, her head rolling forward." This image calls up images in the reader's mind of past experiences, which makes you know how little the girl can do to resist when she is so drunk. The line "the frightening scum on the water" is a pun that could literally mean scum on the water or it could be a reflection of the boy who is scum. The boy now is going to make his move on the girl now that she is completely out of control. "He swiftly contrived to kiss her." The lexical choice contrive makes the reader see how engineered and planned this whole set-up is. The girl has little experience either, as she is young. " She stifled a giggle." The word "giggle" has connotations of innocence inexperience that emphasizes how immoral this is. We don't know what goes on from here as the poem jumps on in time from this line "stories in teenage magazines . . . The three full stops are a caesura that is put there to symbolize the passing of time. ...read more.


Now she thinks that she is in the worse possible scenario she can think of. She says "better to destroy yourself in man-made ways than to fall into this despicable feminine void." Here the writer really shows how depressed she is by making her want to almost do absolutely anything apart from being pregnant. I think is the real difference between the two poems is in who or what they blame for their situation. In Cousin Kate the cottage maiden blames the whole thing on the man "I would have spit into his face." When she knew exactly what was going on and what the risks of pre-marital sex were, where as the girl in the seduction who had no control of this boy who got her drunk and then more-or less raped her, blames the magazines that she reads "full of glamour with a stammer and glossy horoscopes, full of fresh fruit diets how did she feel betrayed?" The irony being that both women are blaming the wrong person for their predicament. These poems are both very anti-male as you can see from the way the authors seem to describe the men almost as manipulative rapists in these poems which makes them a lot easier to compare than contrast. Adam Hollings ...read more.

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