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Portrayal of Women in Pre 1914 poetry - A Woman to Her Lover by Cristina Walsh (1756-1800), 1889) and Cousin Kate by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894).

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Introduction

English literature coursework The Portrayal of Women in Pre 1914 Poetry Women in the Victorian Era were treated like marital slaves. In the 18th and 19th centuries women had no power or rights over men. They had to serve many of their husbands requests or were treated as ornaments to admire. Women were of a lower status than men and men in these times were running a dictatorship and limited women's rights. The portrayal of women in these three poems reflects the dilemmas of women in the 18th and 19th centuries, as the victims of sexual prejudice and suppression. "A Woman to Her Lover" by Cristina Walsh (1756-1800), 1889) and "Cousin Kate" by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894). Both poems reflect how women were portrayed, how men were manipulative and how they bullied women and in the modern day would face serious sanctions for their prejudice actions towards the opposite sex. Christina Walsh's views in her poem "A Woman to Her Lover" are challenging and outspoken in the context of 18th century thinking. She was a "wakened woman" of her time. This means that she has overcome being brainwashed by men. ...read more.

Middle

"but lover if you ask me i shall be your comrade, friend and a mate... and our co-equal love will make the stars laugh with joy and we shall have the music of the spheres for bridal march." This is what modern day women would expect from a relationship, equality, to be a friend and companion as well as a lover with co-equal love and this is highlighted when she says "but lover if you ask me I shall be your comrade, friend and a mate..." This is how she wants to be treated by a man; she wants to be able to trust and rely on her husband and not to be an enemy. Finally she finishes on a romantic note on what her wedding will be like. After her assertive character shows through demands; her personality seems to change drastically when she fantasises how perfect her wedding will be if she were with the right man and this shows when she says "our co-equal love will make the stars laugh with joy." Christina saying that the stars will "laugh with joy" completely changes the mood from an assertive prospective to a more calm and joyful atmosphere. ...read more.

Conclusion

the woman wants her son to cling closer and closer emphasises how much she does not want her son to leave her to acquire his father's crown. Both poems illustrate attitudes towards women in the 18th-19th centuries, victims of sexual prejudice and suppression. As if it weren't enough men would dictate a lot of rules in ordinary everyday lives of women. The men with power and position are probably portrayed correctly in these two poems or probably behaved even worse. Their partners were very often used as ornaments, objects of sexual desire and vehicles to perpetuate their family lines. Christina Walsh's poem stands out the most from the three poems because of her revolutionary view of how women should be treated. If any men in the 18th century were to read it they would be outraged by its contents, challenging their view of superiority over women. Overall men and women in these poems must have been portrayed correctly because both poems they have the same characteristics a s each other and these involve men thinking they are godlike to women and they have no rights and from the women's point of view in these poems they deserve equal respect to men. Aiedan Sagayarajah ...read more.

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