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Cousin Kate

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Introduction

Tim Wakelin 11/01/2003 Cousin Kate GCSE English Coursework First Draft This poem is based in the 19th century. There are three main characters in the story. Cousin Kate, Cottage maiden and the Lord. The title of this poem is self-explanatory. As you can tell the poem is based on a character called cousin Kate. As she is the main character in the poem, the whole poem revolves around her. The poem is based on Triangular Conflict, which means that there is a conflict between three people. The poem basically tells us about 19th century life and peoples attitudes towards unlawful relationships. The poem tells us about a cottage maiden who had an affair with a Lord. She looses her virginity to him, and then regrets the whole ordeal. In the 19th century if you were not known as pure, then fellow friends and family would reject you. It was seen to be unclean and impure if you were to have sex before marriage. Men would then look down on you in disgust, as would friends and family. The poem demonstrates how a man can love a woman, then throw her away and move onto another as he pleases, and because he was a lord the cottage maiden could not say a thing. This brings into light the difference between higher and lower class people. If the cottage maiden had said anything, people would not believe her and would turn a blind eye to her, and to her accusations. ...read more.

Middle

She is said to have grown fairer than her. She is said to have been "lifted" away from the work to sit with her father on high. This could mean that her father is a noble person who has control over the cottage and decides who leaves the workplace and who doesn't. The cottage lady feels cheated on by the lord, she feels used and upset. The lord decides that he prefers the cousin 'Cousin Kate' and decides to wed her and disown the cottage worker. The theme of this stanza is based on rejection and how the lord treats other women. He 'plays' the women. He feels that because he is a lord he can do what he wants when he wants. The structure of this stanza is very repetitive. She keeps asking the question "why". This tells us that she now realises what has happened and wants to know why he chose her and not another woman. Stanza 4 is based on the effects of what has happened. This stanza tells us about what the lord does to "Cousin Kate". The lord ends up marrying cousin Kate and turning away the cottage maiden. "Because you were so good and pure, he bound you with his ring". This quotation tells us that because cousin Kate was still and virgin, and therefore pure he decides to marry her. She then goes on to talk about people's opinions of her. "The neighbours call you good and pure, call me an outcast thing". ...read more.

Conclusion

A baby. The maiden has become pregnant and feels that she has won the battle. "Your father would give lands for one" this quotation tells us that the lord cannot have children, therefore does not have an heir to his throne. The lord is willing to give whatever needs bee to obtain a child, a son, and heir to his throne. The maiden talks about how Kate will fret that he cannot have children. "For all your clothes and wedding ring" This tells us that for all the material items she has e.g. expensive clothes, rings, and jewellery. She will never have the one thing that she really wants, a baby. The language of this stanza is based on revenge. The maiden feels that she has beaten Kate and won the battle. This goes too show that all the material things in life mean nothing when a woman cannot have children. The structure of the poem acts as a climax. It tells about how even though the maiden was cheated and used she still has the one thing that matters more than anything. The writer Christina Rossetti has written a very good portrayal of life in early times. It shows how society rejected women who had unlawful sex in earlier times; women were judged and disowned by all people who knew them. Society has now changed. Women are no longer judged or even looked down on by anyone. It has become a way of life that in earlier times may have been conceded as dirty and unlawful, people's attitudes have changed and it is no longer as big a deal as it was in the early 19th century. Tim Wakelin 11/1/2003 ...read more.

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