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Comparing and Contrasting the poems "The Seduction" and "Cousin Kate

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Introduction

Comparing and Contrasting the poems "The Seduction" and "Cousin Kate." In this Essay I am going to be comparing and contrasting the poems "The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley and "Cousin Kate" by Christina Rosetti. I will also be analysing them using quotations to support what I've been saying. One poem was written in the nineteenth century and the other was written near the end of the 1900's. This is just one of the differences I will be discussing in the following essay. I am going to begin with "The Seduction." This poem is about a teenage girl who goes to a party. She meets a boy and starts falling head over heals in love with him because she is unable to see he is misleading her. She can't understand that when he takes her to the docks he is only interested in sex and not her. He departs after he has got what wanted, leaving her pregnant. She is then left to face the scorn of her neighbourhood and realise she has been betrayed by the fake reality of her teenage magazines. In the first stanza of the poem, there are quotations such as "quiet bricks" and "Far past the silver stream of traffic" which show us a quiet place where people won't see what the couple are about to do. "Blind Windows" is and example of personification which tells us about the neighbourhood's view. They don't want to see the problem of underage sex which the word "Blind" articulates. In general this paragraph is using beautiful words like "silver", "morning" and "quiet" to contrast with the dull and bleak events about to unfold. Stanza two and three show how the boy is pushing the girl into this while she is unawares. An important quotation is "fumbled in a bag". This shows that the boy is an inexpert lover. "His leather jacket creaked madly" could be connected with the last quotation. ...read more.

Middle

We know that the lord has no respect for the cottage maiden because of the quotations "silken knot" and "changed me like a glove." This would seem to imply that she had been treated like a possession. The Great Lord regards her not as a human being but as an item of property which has no feelings. This is re-alliterated in stanza four with the lexis "howl in dust." She no longer feels human and is left to howl like a mere beast. The image of her "in dust" reinforces the fact that she has lost her sense of value and self respect. Another important piece of evidence is "might have been a dove". These words build up a sense of loss and waste. The female narrator feels she had the potential to be as pure as a dove but is not to be regarded as "shameful" by the society she lives in. Also in the poem there are some very important words which explain to us what the Lord was like. He is portrayed as a sexual predator who preys upon vulnerable women. I would use the quotations "he saw you at your fathers gate" and "he walked your steps" to prove this. The words describe how the "Great Lord" has watched carefully and chosen Cousin Kate to be his next sexual conquest. The words "saw" and "watched" are visual and have been used in a stalker like context. The poet goes on to say "lifted you from mean estate" which reminds us of what the lord did to the cottage maiden. He was chosen two women of poor backgrounds to us as "playthings." He has the power to lift someone from poverty to "sit with him on high" until he gets bored and "cast me by." He is exploitive and takes advantage of his apparent power and wealth. He enjoys imposing it on is un-knowing victims. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not just the plot that has differences. The two poems are written in different times as I mentioned earlier on in this essay. "Cousin Kate" was written in the nineteenth century and "The Seduction" was written near the end of the twentieth century. Even if you weren't aware of the time periods in which these poems were written you would be able to tell by the use of language. "The Seduction" uses more modern language whereas in "Cousin Kate" words like "flaxen", "writ" and "coronet" are used. Even the settings and objects in the poems are different. Words like "magazines", "iodine" and "traffic" wouldn't have been used when "Cousin Kate" was written because it is set in a different time. I would say that my favourite poem is "Cousin Kate". Most of my class mates have chosen "The Seduction" but for some reason the way in which Christina Rossetti has wrote "Cousin Kate" appeals to me. Although "The Seduction" is very blunt and distressing it seems to be all doom and gloom whereas "Cousin Kate" has light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to have a moral; no matter what happens you can get through it. "The Seduction" has a very unsatisfying ending leaving the reader wondering what the girl will end up doing with the baby, but in "Cousin Kate" you know everything is going to be ok. Language like "fell in love" and "scum" in "The Seduction" pale in comparison to language like "Contented" and "doubt you fret" that seem to flow out of the verses of "Cousin Kate". The bitterness you see in Eileen McAuley's poem seems so two dimensional compared to the bitterness in "Cousin Kate" which you can take in so many other directions. I am not saying that "The Seduction" is a bad poem because it is a great piece of writing but when you compare it to the work of Christina Rossetti, you are left unsure. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sara Bullock 10KO/10A1 Mr. Wakefield - English 1 ...read more.

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