Comparing Cousin Kate and The Seduction
In this coursework I will be comparing the two poems ‘Cousin Kate’ by
Christina Rossetti and ‘The Seduction’ by Eileen McAuley. The two
poems have many similarities but there are also some differences
between them. To begin I will give an introduction to both the poems.
Cousin Kate is about a cottage maiden that is tricked into having an
affair with a rich Lord. She is then betrayed by the Lord who decides
to dump her. He then marries her Cousin Kate who is much more
beautiful than her and who has not yet lost her virginity. The Lord
completely forgets about the maid after abandoning her and leaves her
all alone. The maiden later realises that she is pregnant with a baby
boy who is the son of the lord. The poem ends with the cottage maiden
being an outcast because she has got pregnant before getting married
but also with her feeling triumphant because here son will one day be
the heir to the Lord’s lands.
The Seduction is about a 16 year old girl who has a one night stand
with a boy whom she meets at a party. The boy is into bad habits like
drinking and taking drugs. He offers the girls some drinks and once
she is very drunk he takes her to the docks near a river where he
sleeps with her. After that night the girl never sees the boy again
and realises 3 months later that she is pregnant. Her life is
completely destroyed by her pregnancy. She has no more friends and
nobody will ever speak to her again. She feels very bitter as to how
her life has been ruined due to one mistake and how she has become an
outcast. She ends the poem extremely disillusioned with life and how
it has treated her.
There are many differences between the two poems. The two poems took
place at different times. Cousin Kate was written in the 1800’s while
the seduction took place in more modern times, probably the
1900’s.Cousin Kate and the Seduction are also very different in terms
of the relationships between the girl and the man or the boy who
seduced her. In Cousin Kate the cottage maiden truly loves the lord
and has an affair with him for a period of time –“Woe’s me for joy
thereof” while in The Seduction the girl hardly knows anything about
the boy and has a one night stand with him.
The other difference is the location of the two poems. Cousin Kate is
set in the countryside –“I was a cottage maiden” while the Seduction
is set in the city –“the silver stream of traffic through the city”.
Another difference between the two poems is the way the two women are
seduced by the men. In Cousin Kate the lord seduces the women by using
his wealth and treating her well –“lured me to his palace home” while
in the seduction the girl is seduced without any romance or romantic
feelings. She only sleeps with the boy because she is drunk. In the
seduction the poet describes what happened that night in as almost
dirty where the boy calls her things like “little slag,” The boy in
the seduction is...