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Compare what happens to the two girls and the attitudes they have and other people have towards it. In what ways do the poems seem typical of the period in which they were written?

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Introduction

Compare what happens to the two girls and the attitudes they have and other people have towards it. In what ways do the poems seem typical of the period in which they were written? 'Cousin Kate' was Set and written in the mid 1800s and set in rural England. 'The Seduction' was written in 1985 for the Young Observer poetry competition, which it won first prize. It was written when she was seventeen. In 'The Seduction' a girl goes to a party with the intention of finding a nice 'boy next door' boyfriend. She meets a boy who takes her to the grimy, putrid Birkenhead docks. He seems like the complete opposite to her, he does not have any plans for the future, and truants school and spends his time sniffing paint thinner by the docks reading his dads magazines. She seems to have things more planned out, as she talks to him about her 'O' levels and school. He pulls a bottle of vodka out of his bag and gets her drunk. He talks with her and gains her trust and then has sex with her. She then discovers she is pregnant 3 months later. In the poem 'Cousin Kate' the narrator is a 'cottage maiden'. She is quite content with her life and happy the way she is. One day the Lord of the manor discovers her. He thinks she is beautiful and 'lured' her back to his home. The Lord exploited her and treated her as a 'plaything' but she allowed him to do it because she was in love. The Lord saw her cousin Kate and thought she was much fairer and prettier and cast the narrator aside and married Kate instead. The narrator was left an outcast because she was then an unmarried mother. She became bitter and resentful towards Kate because she felt she loved the Lord, and Kate didn't, Kate only loved his wealth. ...read more.

Middle

The feeling I get from this poem is that she has completely given up all hope. This is also true with the narrator in 'Cousin Kate', when the neighbours called her an 'outcast thing', but she reacted very differently to having a child. The lord was much older than the narrator, and probably felt she could trust him. In 'The seduction' the boy and the girl were both around the same age. In 'The seduction' on the night of the party I think she was quite happy. She was quite willing to follow him down to the docks and drink his vodka. The poem says: 'And she stifled a giggle, reminded of numerous stories Stories from teenage magazines.' I think this proves she was happy on the night because she giggled when he kissed her, because she was reminded of her magazines and she thought that all the stories of romance and love in the comics were coming true. She felt nervous because she probably hadn't ever had a boyfriend before. In the poem it says: 'She giggled drunk and nervous' She was jubilant that night because her and her high white shoes had accomplished their aim for that night- to find a boyfriend. I think at the time, she did love him, because she was quite naive and had had a lot to drink. In the poem it says 'As he brought her more drinks, so she fell in love, With his eyes as blue as iodine.' She was quite excited that night, and she listened intently to whatever he was saying. It mentions her 'wide blue eyes' so she was interested, or trying to be interested, in what he was saying, even thought most of it was irrelevant to her. I think she was very eager to please that night, in the poem it says: 'As she nodded quite enchanted, and her eyes were wide and bright' And she had followed him down to the docks and done everything he had wanted her to do. ...read more.

Conclusion

Kate would not have been so anxious to have a son for the lord and would not have betrayed her cousin so she could marry the lord and be rich, unless she was a malicious person. The setting is quite recognisable as Victorian because they worked 'among the rye' and lived in cottages. The narrator also refers to herself as a 'cottage maiden'. The things which make 'The Seduction' recognisable as 1980s are the events, the personalities, and the comics which the girl reads. The things that the boy and girl talk about are instantly recognisable as 1980s, such as when the boy was talking about football and 'Sammy Lee and Ian Rush' and the 'Milk Cup' and the 'McGuigan fight'. The girl talks about her 'O' levels, which we do not have anymore and the magazines she reads, like My Guy and Jackie are also from that time. The attitude towards the girl's pregnancy is also typical of the time. Despite the gap of nearly one hundred and fifty years between them, I think that the poems are still very similar. They both describe the social stigma surrounding teenage pregnancies and unmarried mothers. They both show that despite the situation, it is always the woman who ends up with the blame. The narrator in 'Cousin Kate' was labelled an 'outcast thing' and the girl in 'The Seduction' was whispered about, even though it was the boy who had taken advantage of her. Even though a hundred and fifty years had passed since 'Cousin Kate' had been written, people still had the same ideas about teenage/single mothers. The attitude I pick up from these poems is that it is looked down on for women to become single mothers, and it is wrong for women to have sex with a lot of people, but for a man it is acceptable, and no label or shame is placed upon him. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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