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Compare and contrast the themes of loss of innocence, betrayal and motherhood as portrayed in the poems 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rosetti and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McAuley

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the themes of loss of innocence, betrayal and motherhood as portrayed in the poems 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rosetti and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McAuley The poems 'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rosetti and 'The Seduction' by Eileen McAuley both portray young women who lose their virginity to men through naivety and innocence. Both men in the poems use the women for sex and don't care about the consequences of their actions. However, the women are in love with the men and are left pregnant and alone, and these are the themes of the poem - loss, innocence betrayal and motherhood. Christina Rosetti wrote 'Cousin Kate' around 1860. She was the daughter of an Italian refugee and wrote poetry from an early age. Although she later had two offers of marriage, she declined both. Many of her poems reflect sadness and grief. 'Cousin Kate' is a narrative poem, a story told in verse. The rhyme scheme is pretty consistent; every other line rhymes, starting with the second line in each verse. Most of the poem is written in the past tense, this tells us that the narrator is reflecting on a past part of her life. ...read more.

Middle

He used her and it was inevitable that he'd get bored of her soon. 'He wore me like a silken knot, He changed me like a glove' these lines indicate that the Lord used the narrator like a fashion accessory, he used her when he felt like it. 'So now I moan, an unclean thing, Who might have been a dove,' here she is showing regret for her romance with the Lord, no other man will want her as she was 'soiled goods'. This underlines the theme of loss, in the sense of her lost love and lost innocence. The dove metaphor is there to portray what she could have been. White symbolizes purity, something the narrator is now not, according to the views of others, and the bird imagery is continued throughout. The next verse brings in 'Cousin Kate', the title of the poem. In doing so, it illustrates how Kate appeared and took the Lord's attention from the narrator. 'O Lady Kate, my cousin Kate' this line tells us that Kate has married the Lord, as she is now known as Lady. ...read more.

Conclusion

'If he had fooled not me but you, if you'd stood where I stand, He'd not have won me with his love' the narrator is saying if places were switched she wouldn't have bought her love. This shows that the narrator has strength of character and that she blames the Lord. Verse six shows how the narrator has got her revenge on the couple, and emphasizes the theme of motherhood; 'Yet I've a gift you have not got, And seem not like to get,' despite being cast aside, she has a treasure, or something special that Kate will never have. 'For all your clothes and wedding-ring, I've little doubt you fret' although Kate has all the possessions money can buy, she is unable to have this one thing that the narrator has. 'My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride, Cling closer, closer yet:' this is ironic because the Lord needs an heir for his lands and wealth, but the son is illegitimate. Her son is her pride because she loves him, but he is her shame because he is a visual reminder of her relationship with the Lord. This is her final revenge on the Lord, because he'll likely cast aside Kate to find a woman who can produce children for him. ...read more.

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