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How does Rossetti treat the themes of love and time in these poems?

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Introduction

How does Rossetti treat the themes of love and time in these poems? It is evident that themes of love and time are frequently referred to in several of Rossetti's poems and I believe that she treats these themes in a variety of ways. Regarding love, Rossetti explores the disappointment and betrayal caused by love, her love of God as though part of an intimate relationship and the temptation that love causes young women to abandon the traditional rules. Using seasonal imagery, Rossetti relates to time contradicting herself as she often implies that we should take time to enjoy and observe life whilst she also states that she is unable to be satisfied with earthly life and it is death that will provide the ultimate fulfilment. Aware of the inevitable that seasons will always change and can never be controlled, Rossetti uses the motif of life cycles in order to demonstrate that we should be satisfied with all that God provided us with on earth. "Life nursed in its grave by death", In 'Spring' Rossetti implies a significant image that death is the protector of life and nurtures new growing life. Supporting this in 'Bitter for sweet', Rossetti stimulates us not to rush through life but observe more and slow down, "Its sun and perfumes and sweet flowers". Demonstrating that rapid changes in life take place and as humans we never notice these Rossetti chose to present this poem in only 8 lines, however in this she progresses through 4 months. ...read more.

Middle

In 'A sigh or a smile', Rossetti at first shows signs of optimism as she creates a turning point, "Somewhere or other may be far or near", changing from "near or far" demonstrating a progression as though she is closer to what she is looking for, however this can also be interpreted as though she has grown to accept that she won't find fulfilment until death. This seems to be the correct assumption as in 'Grown and Flown' as the title suggests she is extremely pessimistic, "leaves are withering/How should one love at all?", using seasonal trends to express the fact that she has given up hope of finding happiness and only God can secure this. Almost creating an intimate relationship with God, Rossetti addresses God/Jesus as though he were her partner, for example in 'Weary in well-doing', "That I may let my toil/and rest with thee?" Often however Rossetti uses her dichotomy to appear humble in 'The lowest place', "Give me the lowest place....make one more low" however at the same time she is also appearing quite arrogant as she dictates to God how he should be treating her, "Where I may sit and see/ My God and love Thee so". This also further implies that Rossetti almost see's herself as an equal to God, as though a partner of God as she suggests that she is able to nourish him, "O Jesus, drink of me". ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth Jennings states, "They seem only to have tempted her to an even greater melancholy of temper than she was usually accustomed to". This I believe relates to how she perceives 'time' as she evidently acknowledges that life goes by quickly and time is precious, however she is aware that because she has no-one to share this with, she is unable to satisfy her time completely. I believe that Rossetti uses her faith in God as her escape from her bleakness of her life on earth as this gives her something to look forward to as she believes that death will enable her a truly satisfying life. To conclude, I believe that Rossetti treats the theme of time by creating a parallel to the inevitability of seasons emphasizing that with all good comes bad and that however hard you try to control life, it never stands still and you will never be able to turn back in time. Presenting her warnings about love and her doubts that she will ever find happiness, Rossetti treats the theme of love as a challenge as she states that if you are able to find love on earth, you are lucky and therefore able to enjoy your time on earth. However if like Rossetti you are unable to find your perfect partner, you may resolve into finding your faith in God as inevitably no one will ever match up to him and he is responsible for our happiness whether we find it on earth or by death. ?? ?? ?? ?? Katie Jackson 12MH ...read more.

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