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    A comparison of “Cousin Kate” and “The Seduction”

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    I am going to compare and contrast two poems , “Cousin Kate” written by Christina Rossetti and “The seduction” by Eileen McAuley. I will pick out important bits from each poem and use them to compare and contrast the poems. The first poem “Cousin Kate” is all about a rejected woman. In the first four verses she wails her personal pain, about her experiences. She has been cast out and now looks back on her past life experiences with remorse. She has been betrayed by someone the one person she trusted the most.

    She feels dejected and , looking back on her life, she can see how foolish she was , now there is only pain and anguish. In the next two verses she recounts how her cousin Kate attracted her lords attention. Kate was swept into his home as she was years ago. He tempts Kate same way as she was when she was younger and he took interest in her. In the last two verses, She returns to her own feelings, she talks about what she would have done had she been cousin Kate’s position then ends the poem talking about her one victory, her pride and her shame.

    The poem “The Seduction” is also about a rejected women, this is one of the similarities. The Seduction starts off the morning after a party, a man and a woman are walking with each other, the woman is obviously drunk but the man sobriety is questionable, throughout the poem he seems quite sober. Anyhow, the first two verses are set currently, not exactly in real-time, but like a report it recounts the information. The next verse is a proper recount of the past, the night before.

    For the next five verses , the poem goes on about what happened that day. Over the next page the scene switches to 3 months later ,the woman is pregnant. For the rest of the poem, the feelings of the woman are described onto the paper. Her pain, her anguish, everything she is going through. First I will compare and contrast the content, the poems Cousin Kate and “The Seduction are both, to simplify it down to one word about regret. In Cousin Kate the now husbandless woman has a bastard son and many regrets.

    She wishes she had not done such a stupid thing. In the Seduction, the woman also has a child with no father and looking back on her life has regrets. Each story is set in a different era yet have their distinct similarities, both women are outcasts from society with their bastards, the women in Cousin Kate has a son, whilst the women in The Seduction has one on her way, unless she decides to cancel the birth. The structure of The Seduction is as four lines per verse.

    It is as an ABCB style rhythm , an example of this is for the first verse, here are the endings for each line, morning, docks, city, blocks. Cousin Kate on the other hand is in a more complicated rhythm, it moves in the order ABCBDBEB, here are the endings for the first verse, maiden, air, mates, fair, out, hair, out, care. As you can see, in both poems there is rhyme, whilst each verse in The Seduction is in 4 short lines, Cousin Kate stretches out into double that with 8 lines per verse. In total The Seduction is much longer than Cousin Kate in terms of lines.

    It has many more than Cousin Kate. The characters in the poems are different though, in Cousin Kate there are three main character, the woman who is recounting her story, the lord and cousin Kate. In simplistic terms , you could call the lord a devourer of souls. He moves from place to place and chooses a woman every so often to fulfil his needs. He leads them to believe that he loves and cares for them but is really just buying them for his own personal pleasure then dumping them just like an item which is bought then left.

    In The Seduction , the characters are somewhat similar, the only difference is that there is no other women, the women in this poem is left alone but we hear no more of the man, he leaves as mysteriously as he entered. We hear no more information about him or another women. A distinct similarity between the two would be that both the remorseful women were each fed a kind of drug from their partner who supposedly loved them. In the Seduction it was obviously the alcohol, she woman got too drunk to distinguish anything properly.

    She giggled, drunk and nervous, and he muttered ‘little slag’. In Cousin Kate, it is less obvious and is over a long period of time, the drug administered to her by the lord is money, greed sprouts forth and the other thoughts are clouded or blanked out. “He lured me to his palace home-Woe’s me for joy thereof-To lead a shameless shameful life, … ” As well as there are similarities , there are also differences, in The Seduction , nothing is known about the father, he does not know that he is the father of a child and the woman will most likely never hear from him ever again.

    It could be counted as a one-night-stand gone wrong. In Cousin Kate, the woman knows the father, the father knows she has a child but he cannot claim it. Cousin Kate has so far not given birth and is not pregnant with any children “Yet I’ve a gift you have not got , And seem not like to get:”. So at the end of the poem there is a hint of vengeance because she knows she has the only male heir to the lords land and cousin Kate who is now with the Lord has so far not bore any children and shows no sign of it.

    You father would give lands for one to wear his coronet. ” This is counted as a similarity and also as a difference, there is a strong theme of broken promises in both poems but they are distinctly different. In the Seduction , the woman believed that everything she read in her magazines would come true to her once she found her supposed true love. However not everything turned out it should have, and in a fit of rage tore up her magazines to little pieces which told her lies which did not come true.

    She grew up believing that everything would be fine and her life would be fantastic once she found her true love. But everything is not always as it should be. The man she met, gave her a night of fun and supposed true love then left her . But not without leaving his mark on her. She did not realise something like this could ever happen to her and lets her anger out on the magazines which never mentioned anything about what happens if it goes wrong, what about the bad things, they mentioned what could happen and now she is paying the price.

    Now, with a softly rounded belly, she was sickened every morning , by stupid stupid promises , only tacitly made. Finally for similarities, both have children of a mistake in their life , for Cousin Kate, moving in with the Lord and being cast out for better woman later on, and for The Seduction, that one night where everything was going great until later she realised just what a big mistake it was. In both poems the men treat their women like playthings , was this because of the time? Or is it in men’s nature?

    I believe that now, men are much more cautious when with women, after the woman’s rights acts passing and constant additions other acts, there is now a much lower chance of younger pregnancies. In both stories however, the women are both afraid of what society thinks of them, they are conscious of others feelings about them and wish it could all go away. Cousin Kate was written by Christina Rossetti to show the weaknesses in the Victorian society. Victorians based almost their entire structure upon class and this greatly affected peoples living and rating of each other.

    Bastard children were treated very unfairly and were looked down upon like the dregs of society , the men were never blamed for any of this and moved on no matter how many women they took into bed with them. Women however were treated as whores as soon as see had slept with someone other than their husband. I believe that this is marginally the same with The Seduction, however in this case it is more about age that counts. The younger the age you are now, the more looked down upon you become . It is no longer about class, but age that counts, slowly I believe that this is changing but it will take a while.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    A comparison of “Cousin Kate” and “The Seduction”. (2017, Oct 11). Retrieved from

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