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Charlotte O”Neil”s song Essay

The first poem I am going to look at is Charlotte O”Neil”s song. Charlotte O”Neil is servant who looks on her life as gruelling and dull. Her heart sets on an exciting new life in New Zealand were she hoped to live her life as “luxurious” as her mistress. We learn about Charlottes O”Neil”s lifestyle and how it differs from her mistress’s and with that we can answer why she wrote this poem. In the poem it clarifies that Charlotte O”Neil was bored with her work and felt she could do more from her independents and individuality. Her harsh tone in lines 1-5 suggests she’s had enough of her slavery,

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“and I washed your plate

and I scrubbed till my hands were raw.”

Charlotte is obviously a hard working girl and dislikes her life being owed to her masters, therefore she wants to escape and discover life.

Charlotte writes the poem about the past in lines 1-14, she sounds angry, how her mistress treated her,

“You lay on a silken pillow.

I lay on a attic cot”.

The tone changes again in lines 13-14, Charlotte comes to feel hurt,

“The rich man earns his castle, you said.

The poor deserve the gate.”

This is supposed to show that God made people to live in different social classes – some to serve and some to be served. This would obviously hurt Charlotte as her mistress treats her like dirt and thinks nothing of Charlotte.

In stanzas 4-6 deal with the future – Charlotte lists all the things she won”t be doing any more and imagines her former employers coping by themselves. The mood changes from anger, emotional to confident and powerful. Charlotte gets cheeky in lines 15-18,

“But I”ll never say

“sir”

or “thank you ma”am”

and I”ll never curtsey more.”

The mood is different at the end because Charlotte is showing to her mistress that she is an independent woman and confident by the use of language and tone she is writing in. Charlotte is leaving her job to make a new life in New Zealand and no longer wants to be bossed about by anyone – wants to be independent.

The style of the poem is very interesting because of the mixture of tones Charlotte used – harsh, emotional to proud, cocky and shown independence and therefore you could have read the poem with different out looks-

· Triumphantly – Charlotte is delighted to have escaped?

· Sorrowfully – Charlotte regrets all the effort she put in to keeping other people happy?

· In a cheeky way – she even calls one of her former employers my dear line 24, which proves she has no respect for them?

It is also interesting that the poem deals with the past and the future, while there is no mention of the present – Charlotte”s life on board ship. The poem originally was a song, and that describes why there is a definite rhythm.

” I scraped out your grate

and I washed your plate

and I scrubbed till my hands were raw.”

Repetition also takes place,

“and I”ve cleaned your house/and I”ve cleaned your clothes”

This language in the poem sets up a contrast between two lives – that of the servant, and that of the master and mistress, by using “I’ve” and “You”,

“You rang your bell and I answered…”

The last line more or less repeats line 20. On the page it is presented as a stanza by itself,

“and you can open your own front door.”

Both things emphasise the line so it creates a triumphant conclusion and this helps us appreciate the type of character Charlotte is, independent, powerful and tuff even though she has been trodden on.

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Charlotte O"Neil"s song Essay
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
The first poem I am going to look at is Charlotte O"Neil"s song. Charlotte O"Neil is servant who looks on her life as gruelling and dull. Her heart sets on an exciting new life in New Zealand were she hoped to live her life as "luxurious" as her mistress. We learn about Charlottes O"Neil"s lifestyle and how it differs from her mistress's and with that we can answer why she wrote this poem. In the poem it clarifies that Charlotte O"Neil was bored with her work and felt she could do more from her
2018-04-24 08:38:07
Charlotte O
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
artscolumbia.org
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