• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Discuss the treatment of the theme of love in Elizabeth Barnett Browing's , 'L.E.L.', and Christina Rossettis, 'A Birthday'.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the treatment of the theme of love in Elizabeth Barnett Browing's , 'L.E.L.', and Christina Rossettis, 'A Birthday'. The two poems, 'L.E.L.' and 'A Birthday', which I have studied where both written by female poets in the Victorian period. At that time, a woman's ambition was to get married and have children. They had no independence at all once they got married; they were their husband's property. If a woman didn't get married or if they were divorced, then they could be treated like outcasts. These two female poets however broke away from this trend. They have both displayed very good work and this fact have made them very successful. First I will look at Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, 'L.E.L'. L.E.L. stands for Letitia E. Landon (1802-1838) was a pioneer female poet who killed herself after a brief, unhappy marriage. Elizabeth Barrett Browning saw her as someone who was, 'thirsty for a little love'. The poem is a dramatic monologue. Elizabeth B. Browning is imagining what it was like for Letitia E. Landon. She tries to imagine what Letitia E. Landon feels and what drove her into killing herself. In this poem there are many sensory images. In verses 1-4, Browning stayed with the theme of springtime e.g. ...read more.


In verses three-six, Browning used the identical rhyming scheme symbolising the lack of difference of Landon's daily routine e.g. "dove, move, prove" etc. In each of the six verses, the fourth line is the same with slight variation in each, "My love is breaking for a little love". This is a constant reminder of her pain and suffering throughout the poem. In the poem there are many tactile images, "rabbit thins his fur". The fur could be used to contrast it to Landon's frozen heart. Fur can be seen as being warm and secure, which Landon clearly isn't. There are also images of olfactory e.g. "sprout green lavender with rosemary and myrrh". The myrrh is a sweet smelling plant but in Letitia E. Landon's life, she was unable to smell anything pretty or sweet because she was too depressed. There are also images of sound, "beehives wake and whirr". This is onomatopoeic and highlights the fact that Letitia E. Landon felt that she had nothing to wake up for in the morning. The next poem is called, 'A Birthday', by Christina Rossetti. She like Elizabeth Barnett Browning, wrote her poem during the Victorian period. In contrast however, her poem is about 'happy love'. ...read more.


Also there are olfactory images in the poem, "Silver fleurs-de-lys". These are lilies, which smell of the perfume of love. In this poem, Christina Rossettis uses this imagery to brag about her happiness. She wrote this poem from her heart. It is evident that "love has crowned her life", and is sincere in everything which she writes. After studying both poems it was very evident that the two poems contrasted greatly from each other. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, 'L.E.L.' was about sad love. Letitia E. Landon had fell so low after love had distructed her life that she couldn't live with the pain. She was driven to suicide. Letitia E. Landon found her springtime when she died. She was relieved with all the agony and pain that love had caused her. However 'A Birthday' by Christina Rossettis had a more positive attitude to love. Love had made her feel wealthier and spiritually richer. She wished to celebrate her feeling everyday and share it with everyone. It was the reason that she looked forward to living! Out of the two poems I felt that both poets were very clever in the way they used language and images to display their feelings towards love. Out of the two however I preferred 'A Birthday' by Christina Rossettis', as it was so fragrant and merry. There was no depression or misery mentioned anywhere and I would hope that love would have that effect. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop.

    Here conflict explodes as the verbal deviations from previously established word patterns reflect the consequences for the poet in remaining true to her initial claim, a claim that experience of loss can yield to mastery of it. The separating of the words "a gesture / I love" across two lines

  2. Love is a very common theme in poetry. By closely examining the ways in ...

    "Shakespeare uses hyperbole here. He intentionally embellishes the reference to doom to persuasively implement the perpetuity and long-term characteristics of love. Shakespeare uses this method of hyperbole again in his first octet, "Love looks on tempests and is never shaken."

  1. Comparison of 'How do I love thee?' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and 'A Birthday' ...

    As he sees someone who he falls in love with he describes his sensation with things that happen to his body. For example when he sees here he says 'My face turned pale as deadly pale. My legs refused to walk away.'

  2. What is Love?

    But after three months this substance decreases its production, and all the euphoria disappears. At this moment, we start noticing all the possible defects in our partner. At this facet, our love goes true, and we decide if this is true love or we must continue in the quest for real love.

  1. A Comparison Between the poems ‘Cousin Kate’ and ‘Ballad’

    In some ways, the rhythm of the poem helps the reader to have a better understanding of the pattern of the protagonist's thoughts. The man in 'Ballad' is the antagonist though he is not a focus of the poem. He is described as 'faithless'.

  2. Love and loss. The poems that I have chosen to compare and contrast in ...

    The reader knows this by the way the poet says, "I am no doll to dress and sit for feeble worship." The third stanza is about being a desirable sexual object. A quotation that shows this is, "A creature who will have no greater joy than gratify your clamorous desire."

  1. The presentation of love (and loss) in How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth ...

    The rhyme scheme in the octave is ABAB, like in First Love, which reflects upon the separation of the two lovers; one being on Earth and the other being up above in the heavens. The rhyme scheme changes in the sestet being CDDE, which focuses on the two of them being much closer, despite the current situation.

  2. Compare how the poets explore their ideas about love in the following Italian sonnets: ...

    Another great effect is that it gives a simple message, although the poem is about how she loves, the repetition gives the most important thing: she does love. Overall this is quite dramatic, it shows the most important thing to have the poem.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work