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Compare the predicament of women in society as described in 'Cousin Kate' and 'The Seduction'. How far do you sympathise with them?

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Introduction

Compare the predicament of women in society as described in 'Cousin Kate' and 'The Seduction'. How far do you sympathise with them? 'The Seduction' and 'Cousin Kate' are similarly concerned with the predicament of women in society. They are both poems which end up in a negative position, and are following the trails of a young girl, wanting to be loved, in some way. They also similarly carry the theme of betrayal. In 'The Seduction', the girl is betrayed by the teenage magazines promising her the romantic love story she always wanted and, in 'Cousin Kate', the young girl is betrayed by her cousin, who steals the man she loves. These are the predicaments that both the girls have. Both poems contain lines which question their actions, 'Why did a great Lord find me out?' and 'For where, now, was the summer of her sixteenth year?'. This shows the regret that they had in that period in their lives, and also how betrayed they feel and the problems they have now of losing their childhood. 'Cousin Kate' tells us the story of how she was seduced, used and cast away, much like 'The Seduction'. As 'The Seduction' begins, it uses a lot of imagery to prepare the reader for what may happen. 'Far past the silver stream of traffic through the city, far from the blind windows of the tower blocks'. ...read more.

Middle

The 'neighbours' also show their disapproval in 'The Seduction' with their whispers, and that she fell pregnant with a boy unknown to her. She so much longed for the romance in her magazines, like most girls at that time, that she did not really make a conscious decision about who it would be with and whether it would actually be romantic for her. However, she didn't care that night because after all ' how would you know, if you never took a chance.' The girl fell in love with the idea of love and not with the boy. In 'The Seduction', there is a lack of care and knowledge of each other, whereas in 'Cousin Kate' it seems, at the beginning, almost the opposite. The 'lord' 'Praised her flaxen hair' and 'filled her heart with care'. This fairy-tale romance, which you could say was the image described by the magazines in 'The Seduction', soon disappears with the next verse describing how he seduced her with his money, 'He lured me to his palace home' and how he turned her into one of this objects, which he changes 'like a glove'. We are, at this point, made to feel sorry for the girl for the way the 'lord' has treated her and just 'cast her by'. Although the image in 'Cousin Kate' is one of unhappiness, there is one thing which brings joy to the young maiden. ...read more.

Conclusion

Likewise in 'The Seduction', language like 'little slag' was quite common in that era. Where the poems are set is also very relevant. The Maiden lived in a cottage, and Cousin Kate worked 'among the rye', whereas 'The Seduction' is set at a friends party. But even so, the problems they both experience are similar. I have greater sympathy with the young girl in 'The Seduction' and I believe she was in a greater predicament also. Not only was there huge pressure from all the teenage magazines she was reading to have sex, but there was probably pressure from her friends, as I know that there is today, and the poem was not written that far from today. Not only was there great pressure before she had sex, but the shame and feelings that she was put through from society was extreme, and this, in my opinion, should not have been placed upon her. Although similar things happened in 'Cousin Kate', I don't think they did to the same extent, and, at the very least, the 'Cottage Maiden' was left with something to treasure and that she was proud of. Although abortions were not a regular occurrence, I still think she was in a better position to keep the baby. Whereas, in 'The Seduction', I think she would have been forced to have an abortion, or if she had kept the baby, she would have been under great emotion and also financial difficulties. ...read more.

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