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GCSE English literature Pre 1914 Comparative poetry coursework assignment

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Introduction

GCSE English literature Pre 1914 Comparative poetry coursework assignment Compare and contrast the different ways that "love and loss" are represented in the poems you have selected. You should comment on the ideas that the poets communicate, the way the language has been used and how each poet has used form. The selection of poems I will be looking at and analysing are all based on "Love and Loss" All these poems are written before 1900, and all focus on four different aspects of love. The first 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning is about jealous love... The second 'Villegiature' by Edith Nesbit is about disappointment in love, thirdly I will be studying 'A Woman To Her lover' by Christina Walsh, which is about equality in love. And lastly... 'A Birthday' by Christina Rossetti which is about a celebration of love. Each of the poems are very different and individual, no two are alike. Perhaps the one that stands out the most is 'My Last Duchess' because it is the only poem that is from a man's point of view, it is also the only poem that displays loss rather than love. The poem is a dramatic monologue because only one person is speaking throughout, and it's dramatic because it gradually reveals the Duke's most inner thoughts and feelings. The poem was written in the Renaissance Period, when a lot of fine architecture and art was being produced, which may have been Browning's inspiration. The poem is about a Duke who gives the woman he loves his "nine-hundred-year-old-name" or... in other words his hand in marriage. It tells a story of how he has a portrait of her on the wall "That's my last duchess painted on the wall. Looking as if she was still alive." That line is implying that she is no longer alive for some reason causing the reader to pause and wonder how she died. ...read more.

Middle

To make of me a bond slave...?" That phrase is quite emotive. It makes the reader feel sorry for her and as if her future husband takes her for granted. The use of the words 'conqueror' and 'vanquished' create quite a militaristic image in the reader's mind. "If that what be what you ask, O Lover I refuse you!" the use of the exclamation mark at the end, makes it seam more intimidating and intense! It's very serious and she comes across to the reader as being quite stern and determined. The poem uses a lot of emotive language that makes the reader feel as if this man is quite prejudice and stereotypical towards women... for instance "Wearing out my life in drudgery and silence." It's very one sided and causes the reader to take a dislike to her fianc´┐Ż with out even hearing his side of the story. Which is quite a powerful and hard technique to master. She carries on into the second verse informing him of everything she refuses to be, "I am no doll to dress and sit for feeble worship if that be what you ask, fool I refuse you!" Again Walsh uses an exclamation mark to convey how this woman is feeling. She's telling him that she's not just going to be something pretty he can look at, she's not just there to look good on his arm and that she has thoughts and feelings too. Walsh also uses the persuasive technique of the rule of three... 'Deed', 'word', 'wish' and 'Shame', 'Pity' and 'Abasement'. I think she does this to enforce the message she's trying to convey... and again it makes the reader feel obliged to dislike this man. In this verse Walsh also uses the imperative verb "Go!" followed by another exclamation mark... this also reinforces the idea of her being very strong willed. In the third verse she talks about the fact that she wants equality in their marriage, and that she's not just there to fulfil his needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again she's using a lot of images from nature. I think the way Rossetti manages to create these astonishing images so effortlessly is with the use of similes "My heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea". This builds up a picture of a beautiful shell with the colours of a rainbow reflecting off it floating in an idyllic calm sea. Similarly the phrase "My heart is like an apple-tree whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit" creates a picture in the mind of the reader of a huge apple tree with bent branches, full of healthy fruit. This causes me to compare how full the tree is to how full her life seems now she has found her perfect man. And also the phrase "My heart is like a singing bird whose nest is in a watered shoot" This builds the picture of a perfect birds nest built in a newly grown tree with a small bird singing a blissful happy tune. The repetition of "My heart is like" helps the reader to understand how this reflects and corresponds to her life with her new lover. After studying all four poems I decided that my favourite was "My Last Duchess" because it's the most effective and moving. I enjoyed analysing it because I liked the fact that unlike the other three poems I had to read it over and over again in order to comprehend the hidden meanings. I liked the fact that it wasn't straightforward and the ideas went a lot deeper than I first appreciated. I also liked the way the Duke implied things so tactfully... that you were left guessing. I've learnt that a poem isn't about the way it rhymes but more about the secret messages the authors trying to convey, and about how the linguistic techniques are used to make you feel a certain way. And "My Last Duchess" has all these qualities. Katie Cook 10AT GCSE English Coursework 'Love and Loss' ...read more.

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