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Compare and contrast 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McCauley.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McCauley. In the 1800s, having a child outside of wedlock was looked down upon by the whole of society. Over 150 years later, things have changed but it is still looked down upon by a small minority of people. Poetry is regularly used to highlight a key issue of the times, and here we have two poems that are no different. 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti was written in pre-1900 times when a child outside of wedlock was seriously frowned upon. It is about a young girl who is used by a lord like a plaything and then cast aside. 'The Seduction' by Eileen McCauley was written in post-1900 times and gives a modern view of a girl, seduced by a boy using her for sex and her fears of what society will think of her and how it will treat her. ...read more.

Middle

The difference between the two women is that in 'Cousin Kate' the girl ends up being happy with what she has got: a child. It is something that is a joy to her and brings her happiness. In contrast, in 'The Seduction' the child is a burden to the girl, she refers to the pregnancy as a 'Septic wound...' which is how we know that she does not really want the child, because of what peoples reactions will be. In 'The Seduction' the main picture that is painted about the boy is that there is no respect involved, he just wants her for the pleasure. We can tell that he has no respect because he mutters 'little slag'. It is also unromantic and the poet's words create this feeling because he 'fumbles' in the bag for the vodka: he has it all planned. She paints a bleak picture because she says how dark it is, they are right beside the river with the frightening scum on it. ...read more.

Conclusion

'...She stifled a giggle...' But for the remainder of the poem she has become pregnant and regrets all that happened that night. The mood becomes one of anger, self-pity and unhappiness and scared. 'She sobbed in the cool, locked darkness...' '...She was truly frightened...' '...Stupid, stupid promises...' 'So she cried...' I thought that the poems gave a realistic view on teenage pregnancy, for the times that they were written in. in 'Cousin Kate' it is realistic in that, the narrator would have been treated as an outcast and an unclean thing. This is mostly due to the historical era in which it was written in. During the 1800s, a child outside of wedlock was frowned upon and her neighbours and friends would have treated the bearer of the child as an outsider. In 'The Seduction', the girl is a typical modern girl: into fashion magazines and things of that nature. Society now would treat her a lot better than at the time of 'Cousin Kate' but she would still be aware of the passing remarks, stereotypes and sweeping generalisations that people would that people would have made about her. ...read more.

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