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To explore the poem ‘Cousin Kate’ by Christina Rossetti and compare it to ‘Seduction’ by Elaine McCauley

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Introduction

English coursework To explore the poem 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti and compare it to 'Seduction' by Elaine McCauley In my essay I will be exploring the similarities and contrasts between the above poems. Christina Rossetti was around in the Victorian era when the pre-Raphaelite movement was at it's strongest (a group of artists in that period). Also at this time women where seen as inferior to men. Elaine McCauley's 'Seduction' is set in the '80's when women where seen as equal but where obviously still treated as inferior by a minority or majority of the male population. Both poems deal with sexual aspects of the two women's lives and show how men have manipulated their lives and then left them when there is sign of commitment, in these poems commitment comes in the form of 'pregnancy.' Also both poems show the social acceptance and status of women in the 1800's and 1980's. 'Cousin Kate' is by Christina Rossetti, is about a young lady who is 'lured' by a lord and gets pregnant out of wedlock, and is left by the lord at the end. This is much like 'seduction' where the girl meets a boy at a party and has sex with him whilst drunk, and ends up pregnant, once the pregnancy is revealed in 'seduction' there is no more mention of the boy, this gives the impression that the boy used ...read more.

Middle

In the second stanza we find out how easily led and gained the girl is in 'Cousin Kate' we find how the lord 'lured' her 'to his palace home,' The word 'lured' most commonly used as a negative word like he used false pretences. The lord used the girl as his 'plaything' and 'wore' her like a 'silken knot' easily undone and 'changed like a glove.' This shows the lords mistreatment and opinion on women, that he thinks they are there for his pleasure and don't mean anything to him, I feel that Rossetti says this to show the poor treatment of women in her time. This also relates to the way the boy treats the girl in 'Seduction' calling her a 'little slag' showing his little regard for women and his intentions. The girl from 'Cousin Kate' feels she is now an 'unclean thing,' no longer innocent but dirty and used, the line 'Who might have been a dove' backups the above, as doves are related to peace and cleanliness, but she is no longer able to be this. The girl in 'Seduction' also feels she is no longer innocent and clean as she 'ripped up all her 'Jackie' and 'my guy' magazines up.' These magazines were made and perceived to be for innocent girls and she obviously feels she no longer deserves them, as she is no longer innocent. ...read more.

Conclusion

'If you stood where I stand.' This relates with 'Seduction' both poems show how the girls have learnt from their mistakes and now know where they have gone wrong but also it is to late for them both. In the final stanza of 'Cousin Kate' we find that the narrator has had a child which is the lords and that Kate can not bear children. And 'for all your clothes and wedding ring' Kate will never have that joy. We also again are told about the narrator's shame of the relationship but also the pride she gained in the form of a child 'My fair haired son, my shame, my pride.' In complete contrast to this the girl in 'seduction' is devastated of her pregnancy, 'she broke the heels of her white shoes (as she flung them at the wall).' This shows her frustration at her one night of weakness and the realisation that her life has changed forever, and her once hope of 'o-levels' which at one point she boasted to the boy, she 'talked about school, in a disjointed way. About o-levels she'd be sitting in June.' where blown. Both poems are like a life lessen, showing how one night of weakness or any moment for that matter can change your life not just for that moment but forever. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework Ash Warbrick ...read more.

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