Christina Rossetti's Poetry: Controlled and Passionate
Rossetti's poetry has been described as both controlled and
passionate. Making clear what you understand by the terms discuss
which of these two views you have more sympathy with and why. Refer
closely to at least three of the set poems.
Christina Rossetti poetry uses concise structures but through these
she expresses immense emotion; in this respect her poetry can
accurately described as "both controlled and passionate" yet the two
words are almost a paradox as passion is frequently seen to be at odds
with controlled tight structures. Other poets have also followed in
Rossetti's footsteps by combining tight structured poetic forms with
emotion e.g. Dylan Thomas.
L.E.L is a prime example of Rossetti's technique; it combines a
complex structure with a very emotive outcry. The structure is very
precise with each verse not only rhyming within itself, in an A, B, A,
B, C, C, C pattern, but also within pairs of stanzas containing a
pattern between them on the 5th to 8th lines. The 2nd and fourth lines
provide visually rhyming lines throughout the poem connecting each
verse although when the poem is read aloud the lines do not rhyme
verbally. Rossetti also plays with structures in the poem, beginning
with an elegiac stanza form ("a Quatrain of four iambic pentameters
rhyming A, B, A, B" - Pears Cyclopaedia) before diversifying into her
own version ending with C, C, C. The elegiac stanza form helps
contribute to the passion by setting the tone for the poem while at
the same time Rossetti alters the form to suit her needs showing
creativity within her "control". The latter section of each stanza is
in a different tone relating and contrasting the emotions to the
natural world. Even when looking at Rossetti's poetry from a purely
structuralist perspective the emotion within the poem comes clear and
this is before any real textual analysis takes place.
The poem sits easily on a page and is visually satisfying, although
this is in part due to the visual rhymes previously mentioned. This
appearance though is false as the poems content is analysed but
reinforces the theme of appearance and reality in the 4th stanza.
Again, the "controlled" use of structure can be seen as adding to the
poems "passion" showing a masterful combination of the two. The
repetition of and permutations on the line: "my heart is breaking for
a little love" is another structure that reinforces the poems meaning
and show the despair that the poem communicates. The move away from
the 1st person in the last two stanzas serves to provide a different
perspective on the emotions discussed allowing a broader view than if
the whole poem was in the first person, again this use of structure
emphasises the underlying emotions.
Although the structure of the poem contributes to its emotiveness the
language is also essential to exhibit Rossetti's "passion". The
natural imagery in the last...