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Discuss the ways men and unmarried mothers are presented by the poets in the poems you have studied. Do these poems reflect a change in society(TM)s views

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Introduction

Discuss the ways men and unmarried mothers are presented by the poets in the poems you have studied. Do these poems reflect a change in society's views? The poem "Cousin Kate" was written by Christina Rossetti in the 19th century. The poem "The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley is a modern 20th century interpretation of real life events. In the first poem we studied "Cousin Kate", at the beginning of the poem the speaker is happy and "contented" but all of a sudden "a great lord found her." He then lures the woman to his "palace home" and then uses her as his "plaything." He then leaves her for her cousin, Kate, who he then marries. The speaker then regrets ever accepting the lords offer but then realises she has his son and that he would part lands for someone to carry on his family name. In "The Seduction" there is also a girl, just 16 years old, who is taken advantage of in a party by excessive amounts of alcohol and then taken to a quiet dock where the man spends his schooldays with "sweet paint thinner" while the man makes his way with her. The next half of the poem describes how the girl copes with her pregnancy and that she rather starve herself like a "sick precocious child" than to tell the neighbours. In both poems there are unmarried women who have been taken advantage of in a similar way and are left, just to reflect on their situations, while the men in the poems get away with the neglect that they have inflicted upon both of the women. Both of the men lure the women with objects, whether it's wealth or homes, or just a lot of alcohol. This shows that the women haven't gone with them because they actually love them, it's because they're overwhelmed with the amount of gifts that they receive. At the beginning of the poem Cousin Kate the woman is happy "contented" with her life. ...read more.

Middle

She misses the days of her innocence and purity where she done what she liked. For example "Day trips to Blackpool" and "missed all the innocence around her" This shows just how much she actually misses her days of innocence, but now with the burden of her baby she can't do anything of what she wanted. At the beginning of the poem the girl starts off on a high in "love" only to be rejected and abused. Afterwards, she spirals into a stage of depression and unlike the girl in Cousin Kate who finds she's actually proud of her son; she stays depressed just hoping the "neighbours" don't find out. She shows her real feelings for her pregnancy. "Better to destroy your life in modern man made ways, then to fall into this despicable feminine void." This shows how she would rather take drugs than be pregnant. She despises her pregnancy so much she would rather destroy her life in "man made" ways than to be pregnant. The words "despicable feminine void" demonstrates the magnitude of her anger and that she finds pregnancy the worst possible experience, while in Cousin Kate, she is sad she's pregnant and is shunned by society as a symbol of shame, but the speaker doesn't feel ashamed or disgraced, but instead she feels proud of her son. The Lord in "Cousin Kate" is presented in many different ways, one of which he's wealthy and has a high social status. "Why did a great lord find me out?" This shows that the lord is wealthy. A lord isn't someone of royalty, but of someone with lots of money and a high social status. This shows that the lord could be anyone and not necessarily have any respect to others. The word "great" shows the irony of the way the lord is presented in the poem. The lord isn't great at all, no more than a man controlled by lust. ...read more.

Conclusion

While in "The Seduction", society is represented by the neighbours and the girl is trying desperately to hide the fact she is pregnant by keeping herself away in a "locked" room where nobody can see her, and that she rather "starve" herself "like a sick precocious child" than to show anyone the bump that she's pregnant. This can cause serious health problems for both the girl and the unborn baby, but as the girl is so depressed she doesn't think, and her main objective is not to let the neighbours know. Society in the seduction singles her out because at the end of the last stanza it says "neighbours whisper you always looked the type." This shows how society as a whole would react to the fact that she's become pregnant. Even after a century of development, society's views are still the same, by treating both victims harshly, and not considering their feelings as if they aren't human. In Cousin Kate on the other hand, the girl is proud of her pregnancy as she realises that the lord "would give lands for one to wear his coronet." Even though society rejects her as a person and calls her a thing instead of a person, the speaker looks to the advantages to her pregnancy "my shame, my pride" and comes out of the spiralling depression that was entrapping her like it has in "The Seduction." The words my shame, my pride" is another example of the writing technique oxymoron. Conclusion I think that in the both poems the storyline is basically the same, it's just the time difference that makes them different. They both involve unmarried mothers who have been neglected and rejected. It's just that as time goes on societies views don't change unlike everything else. Even today people think it's a sin to have a child when you're young, (before 18) and that the situation should be dealt harshly and accordingly to the magnitude of the social outcome so even after a century of development, society's views haven't changed. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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