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Compare and contrast, with close textual reference, 'Cousin Kate' by Rossetti and 'The Seduction' by McAuley.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast, with close textual reference, 'Cousin Kate' by Rossetti and 'The Seduction' by McAuley. 'Cousin Kate' is a pre-twentieth century poem, which was written by Christina Rossetti. It is about a young woman who works as a cottage maiden, she falls in love with a lord and sleeps with him. She finds out that she is pregnant with the lord's baby but is dumped for her cousin. The second poem, 'The Seduction', is a more modern poem. It is about a teenage girl who meets a boy at a party, they get on well and leave the party together. The boy gives the girl lots of alcohol and start to caress her, once they had slept together the boy left. After a short period, the young girl finds out that she is pregnant and is distraught. Both Cousin Kate and 'The Seduction' deal with unplanned pregnancy. In 'Cousin Kate', Rossetti tells us that she "has a gift". The term "gift" implies that she likes the fact she has a baby. It makes it sound precious to her, as she says "cling closer, closer yet". She repeats the word "closer" to emphasise how much she loves it, so despite being unplanned, the baby is wanted. However, in 'The Seduction' the poet writes, "...when she discovered she was three months gone..." The mood created is one of denial. She won't use the term 'pregnant', as she is unable to accept it. It suggests that three months of her life have been wasted. In each poem, we feel for the women and their unplanned situation. Both 'Cousin Kate' and 'The Seduction' are about women who have been used by a man. ...read more.

Middle

"So now I moan, an unclean thing. Who might have been a dove." She is looking back and thinking how things could have been so different. She wails and sobs at the thought of the direction that her life may have gone, if she hadn't got involved with the Lord. Now, no matter what she does, she us 'unclean' as she has had sex before marriage. "who might have been a dove". This is the woman thinking about what might have been. The poet uses a dive because they are considered to be something special that stands out from the crowd. It is also, more commonly, a symbol of peace and tranquillity. It represents a freedom and peaceful life that she doesn't have anymore. Finally, Rossetti writes, "If he had fooled not me but you." The crucial word in this stanza is 'fooled'. The woman is not pleased with what she has done, she has been tricked into everything by the Lord. It is far from being romantic and it is, again, not the words of a woman who is proud of her actions. This also tells us a lot about the character of the Lord. It implies that he is an evil human being, intent only on doing what is best for himself. He is not worried about the feelings of the woman, as long as he has his enjoyment. Whereas in Cousin Kate we are subtly told of her ashamed feelings, McAuley's poem is a lot more obvious, even though we do not have any details about the 'act' itself. This is because we simply do not need to know. It is left to the reader's imagination to guess what happens before she realises that she is pregnant. ...read more.

Conclusion

The two words "cottage" and "maiden" are words that I feel adds years onto the woman right from the beginning. Her general speech adds to this. She tells the reader how she fell in love with the Lord and it was a proper relationship for an unstated period of time. The title 'Lord' makes him instantly sound older as you do not see or hear of many young Lords. The fact that it was a longer lasting relationship rather than a one-night stand suggests that they are adults. "O Cousin Kate, my love was true," says the woman, emphasising the statement that she felt genuine affection for the Lord. And finally, she is pleased with her gift of a child. Nothing in the world could make her part with her baby son, and this again implies that she is of an older generation than the woman seduced in 'The Seduction'. If she were a teenager, she would surely rue losing her freedom and innocence. You automatically expect the father to be roughly the same age as the mother, and I believe this is the case. All his wealth and riches highlights this, as I see no realistic way that a youngster could earn such substantial amount of money. "You site in gold and sing," Rossetti writes. "Your father would give lands for one, to wear his coronet." This stanza basically just explains how much the Lord longs for a Son as an heir to the throne. If he were youthful, he would not be worrying about such things yet, but perhaps he is nearing the age that he won't be able to have another Son and he is getting maybe a little desperate. In conclusion, the man and the woman in 'The Seduction' are considerably younger than the man and woman in 'Cousin Kate'. [Mr1] ...read more.

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