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"Cousin Kate" by Christina Rossetti "The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley - Compare what happens to the two girls and the attitude they and other people have towards it. In what ways do the poems seem typical of the period in which they were written?

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Introduction

"Cousin Kate" by Christina Rossetti "The Seduction" by Eileen McAuley Compare what happens to the two girls and the attitude they and other people have towards it. In what ways do the poems seem typical of the period in which they were written? The two poems are set nearly a century and half apart. Despite this, the poems have very similar occurrences. The poems are both about the differences of commitment between boys and girl in relationships, and the abuse they receive from neighbours and local people. The reader must note that the poet who wrote "Cousin Kate" was a wealthy lady, and so could not have encountered the situation in her poem, whereas the poet for "The Seduction" could quite easily have experienced a teenage pregnancy. "Cousin Kate" was written for the pleasure of writing a poem, but "The Seduction" was written for a children's poetry competition with the subject of 'water', these facts must also be taken into consideration. The narrator in "Cousin Kate" is enticed by a Lord into his home. They have a relationship and the narrator becomes pregnant. We are not told whether the lord is aware of the pregnancy, but he swaps the narrator "like a glove" for her younger, more fair cousin, Kate. The girl in "The Seduction" goes to a friend's party and meets a boy. The girl gets drunk on vodka as she "knocked it back like water," and the boy takes advantage of her. ...read more.

Middle

Both girls become pregnant because of the Lord and the boy. The narrator in "Cousin Kate" appears to love her child, and seems boastful in the way that she talks to her cousin about it, "Yet I've a gift you have not got, and seem not like to get." The mood here is triumphant because she knows that she has got what the lord wants most, something which her cousin cannot give, 'your father would give lands for one to wear his coronet' She says this to her son, because she knows that this is what the lord wants most, an heir, and her cousin is infertile and cannot give it to him. This is also ironic because the one thing that he wants, he had, but he cast it away. The girl he chose, Cousin Kate, cannot give him a child because she is infertile. So this gives the cottage maiden some comfort that she knows this and he does not, it therefore gives her power over him and her cousin Kate. The narrator tells us what she would have said and done to the Lord if she had been in Kate's position. There is loyalty in the narrator when she says she would have "spit in his face and not have taken his hand." Whether she would really have acted like this, we do not know, but the reader is made to believe that she wishes cousin Kate had done that, perhaps showing a hint of jealousy. ...read more.

Conclusion

A peculiar rhyme scheme is used in "Cousin Kate". Every other line in each stanza rhymes, whereas the rhyme scheme in "The Seduction" is not bound to a rule. In some stanzas, the second and forth lines rhyme, but in others, the first, third and fourth lines rhyme. The setting of the poems also shows the reader the time the poem was set. "Cousin Kate" lived in a cottage and worked "among the rye". "The Seduction" is set at a friends party and also by "The Mersey, green as a septic wound." The filth and dirt of the location mirrors the way the boy treats her and the way the girl feels afterwards. Things about at the two poems which are no different despite the gap of nearly a century and a half between them are the position the girls are in. They are both either pregnant or have a baby, both of the fathers do not love the girls. The girls both loved the males at the time although in someway regret what they did. There are boy problems involved even though the men in the poems were of a different class; in 'Cousin Kate' the man was a very upper class lord whereas the man in 'The seduction' was working class 'He spat into the river, fumbled in a bag'. These poems both contain different aspects of deceit. "Cousin Kate" because of the Lord leaving her for the younger cousin, and "The Seduction" because of the lies in the girls comics. Hayley Beynon 10G1 Page 1 Mr Jagger Hayley Beynon 10G1 Mr Jagger ...read more.

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