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Cousin Kate and The Seduction.

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Introduction

Cousin Kate and The Seduction. 'Cousin Kate' and 'The Seduction' are poems about people who are let down by love. Both poems are written from the point of view of women who feel cheated by love. However, 'The Seduction' is written from the point of view of a far younger, inexperienced woman who has unrealistic expectations of love, expectations which are not met. 'Cousin Kate', on the other hand, is written by an older woman, who has had time to reflect on the disappointment of her youth. The title, 'The Seduction' is quite an ambiguous one. It allows the reader an insight in to what the poem is about. Seduction can refer to the act of a seduction, a man of a woman but also can refer to being seduced. The poem focuses on the later interpretations. 'Cousin Kate', too is quite misleading as a title, as you expect the poem to be written from Cousin Kate's point of view, and it is not until the third verse, "O lady Kate, my cousin Kate", that we realise that it is actually written from the view of Kate's cousin. Comparing the language and poetic devices used in each of the poems, it can be seen that both poems use direct language, and appear to avoid poetic techniques which could complicate the poems and their messages. ...read more.

Middle

"Than to have neighbours whisper that, 'you always looked the type'". This theme of alienation from their community plays a pivotal role in both poems, even though they are written so many years apart. Perhaps what both poems show is, regrettably, how little progress has been made in terms of people's attitudes towards women, despite the fact that in both cases it is the women that have been abused. The imagery used in 'The Seduction', is not the typical romantic image we would expect to see in a seduction, it is far from it. "Where I go by meself, with me dad's magazines And a bag filled with shimmering, sweet paint thinner." Here, again, we see the insensitivity of the man; he is only considering his own desires and is entirely ignorant of hers. Similarly, 'Cousin Kate' does lack typical romance, and words such as 'lured' show how the Lord hunted her down like an animal and made her his 'plaything'. Where they differ is in the fact that the images created in 'The Seduction' are far more provocative. There is the suggestion in 'Cousin Kate', that is absent from the 'The Seduction' that the Lord at least pretended to love her. ...read more.

Conclusion

'The Seduction' ends with a view, written far more recently after the event, of loss, shame and regret. The girl in the poem feels worthless and alone, "And better, now, to turn away, move away, fade away". This repetition emphasises the desire on one hand, to escape and by contrast, only serves to remind the reader of the impossibility of that escape. The settings of both poems seem to reflect an emphasis the mood of the poem. McAuley uses the city to show the absence of romance, 'Far past the silver stream of the traffic through the city, Far from the blind windows of the tower blocks.' 'Cousin Kate' perhaps in terms of setting is more romantic, but the events that happen are obviously not. The common message in both poems is that real love is part of the harshness of reality, and not like the perfect romance we see so often in films and magazines. It is only in 'Cousin Kate' however, that we see that there is a survival afterwards, and something positive can come from a bad experience of love. "..my pride". 'The Seduction" on the other hand, doesn't have a positive ending, but maybe if it was written a few years later, after the writer has had time to move on and reflect, like in 'Cousin Kate', this may have been different. ...read more.

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