Comparison of The Seduction by Eileen McAuley and Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti
I will be analyzing the two poems, "Cousin Kate," by Christina
Rossetti, and, "The Seduction," by Eileen McAuley. Both of these poems
share the same theme. The two poems are both based on betrayed love
but they each deal with a different aspect.
"Cousin Kate," is set in the eighteenth century but was written in the
nineteenth century. It was set in Victorian eras which in those days'
high moral values were a tradition to society. "Cousin Kate" deals
with social standings. People are still judged by class now although
it was much more important in the eighteenth century. In the
eighteenth century sex before marriage was greatly looked down upon,
it was a sin of the bible. It was always a lot easier for women in
those days to get caught with having sex before marriage; this is
because they obviously get pregnant.
It is the tale of a poor "cottage maiden" who gets found out by a
wealthy lord, who has loads of power over people, I feel I know this
because towards the end of the poem it says "coronet" which symbolizes
power. She then falls in love with him from all the wooing and love he
gave then he left, and she has his child, before being dropped the
lord moves onto "Cousin Kate." who seems like she is more of upper
class than the maid is. The poem is set out as the maiden telling us
the story of how she was used and how he exchanged her for another
woman. A good line that describes the story this is, "â€¦He wore me like
a silken knot, he changed me like a glove." This tells us that he felt
he could use her like an item of clothing and discard her when he
wished due to his wealthy position in life. It could be said that the
lord ruined the maiden by taking her virginity, I feel this because
"I was a cottage maiden" implies to me that she was a maiden but he
this lord has taken that away, being her virginity, and the poet tries
to get this across in the line, "â€¦so now I moan, an unclean thing, who
might have been a dove".
"The Seduction" is written by Eileen McAuley, it was writ in the
twentieth century around 1980's. In those years the ruling minister
was Margaret Thatcher, this women had very conventional high values in
home and in society. At the time of her reign she tried to return
society back to a Victorian setting of family values, and so that
humanity would not be as judgmental as it is today.
"The Seduction," is also a poem about a male taking advantage of a
girl although this is a boy not a man, but it is very different.
Whereas in "Cousin Kate" he attracts her by his wealth and treating
her well, this is not the case in "The Seduction." As the title
suggests the poem is about a seduction but not in the normal manner
you'd expect. There is no romance or romantic...