Apart from the clear differences in the structure of these two texts, the similarity is between the authors. A female Christina Rossetti who seemed to be very ardent in her work and towards what men wrote about women, a feminist woman, wrote “Cousin Kate” in the Victorian times. This was very unusual for his time, as women then did not have any rights or allowed to speak out and were treated unfairly particularly by men. The author of the 1980’s poem ‘The seduction’ is a young woman from Liverpool, who also had very strong view towards women.
Eileen’s views are not that surprising for then or now as women have many more rights and are treated as much as and equal to men. Women have also gained the respect of men. What is very surprising is that both texts are both related to the same topic and both of a very similar view. Linking back to the previous paragraph another difference between the two texts is the setting and difference in the periods of time, early nineteenth century and late twentieth century. One difference between the two poems is the males, the boy and the lord, the lord does not really have to try to impress the maid or Kate.
He can just use his power and money. The boy in ‘The Seduction’, however, has to try to impress the girl. The poem tells us he is wearing a leather jacket; this could be to make him look older or more sophisticated. “He told her about football; Sammy Lee and Ian Rush” also suggests that the boy is showing off. He tells her about football because he knows a lot about it and so shares all his knowledge in the hope that he will look intelligent and so he will impress her. “Far from the blind windows of the tower blocks”.
By using this personification Eileen McAuley is telling the reader that the city is dark, that the couple are alone and that it is quite safe for him to seduce her without anyone seeing them. In a poem, the author has to use powerful words to express the meaning of the sentence where as in a story a whole paragraph can be used. This can be seen in the line “So she followed him there all high white shoes”. The author here is telling us that she was pure innocent and still a virgin but wanted to be older and not so pure hence why she is wearing the high heels.
The use of language is also very important in both poems. Imagery is a technique that is used frequently in ‘The Seduction’ and in ‘Cousin Kate’. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid says ‘ even so I sit and howl in dust, you sit in gold and sing’. This creates an image of how bad Kate is feeling. The use of the word howl gives us an understanding of how upset the maid is and how bad she feels. The use of the word howl makes us compare her crying to the sound of a wolf. There is a lot of imagery in ‘The Seduction’.
The setting is described using phrases such as “the quiet bricks of Birkenhead docks”, “far past the silver stream of traffic” and “far from the blind windows”. Adjectives such as quiet, silver and blind build up a picture of the setting. In addition, the use of “the silver stream” tells us that the girl is drunk by using alliteration to create a slurring sound. In ‘The Seduction’ there are similes such as “his eyes as blue as iodine” and “the Mersey, green as a septic wound”. These similes help to create a picture of the setting by giving the reader something to compare with.
In ‘Cousin Kate’ the metaphor “your love was write in sand” is used. This tells us that the maid thinks Kate’s love is temporary and fake. She believes it could simply be washed away. A lot of the language used in ‘The Seduction’ is symbolic. “So she followed him there all high white shoes” is an example of this. It is important that the shoes are described as white as white is a symbol of purity and purity is a strong theme is both of the poems. Later in the poem, it says “and on that day she broke the heels of her high white shoes”.
This is telling us that she has lost her innocence and is no longer pure. Another example of this is in ‘The Seduction’ where the girl rips up all her magazines “until they were just bright paper, like confetti strewn on the carpet”. The confetti is linked to weddings. The word confetti is used as it is immediately linked to marriage, and again purity. Finally, ‘The Seduction’ says “with a softly rounded belly”. The word belly is used because it is a childish word and so reminds us that the girl in the poem is still a child.
Symbolism is also used in ‘Cousin Kate’. The maid says “you sit in gold and sing”. Gold is a symbol of wealth and riches, singing represent happiness. The maiden says, “So I sit and howl in dust” as dust is a symbol of poverty and dirt. The maid is saying she feels lonely, dirty and unhappy. Another technique used in both poems is repetition, which is mainly used for emphasis. In ‘The Seduction’, it says “by stupid, stupid promises”. This could be an example of the girl realizing her guilt and beginning to face up to the mistakes she has made.