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    The Seduction and Cousin Kate Poetry Essay

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    One difference between the boy and the lord is that the lord doesn’t 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. 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 world howl gives us an understanding of how upset the maid is and how she feels down. 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. Also 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 writ 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 I think it reminds us that the girl 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, also the singing represents 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’s made. It tells us how she feels about the events by repeating the things that keep going over in her head. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid asks her son to “cling closer, closer yet”. This is because she wants us to know how much she cares for her son and wants to look after him. It reassures us that although his conception was a mistake, her son is loved very much. Contrast is another theme that featured greatly in both poems.

    In ‘Cousin Kate’ the contrast between Kate, the maid and their relationships is decreased a lot. The poem says that while the lord was with the maid he “changed me like a glove” but when he was with Kate he “bound you with his ring”. This shows he has a different attitude between each woman, and also has different attitudes towards each person. Yet again the sentence “So I sit and howl in dust, you sit in gold and sing. ” This talks about the situation of both of the women after Kate has married the lord. The two women are said to be sitting in either gold or dust and either howling or singing.

    These are very different and create a clear difference in how life is for them. Another comparison used in the poem is: “O cousin Kate my love was true, your love was writ in sand”. This is used to describe the maid’s feelings about Kate’s relationship. She says that although she really loved the lord, Kate does not. Finally in ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid says “yet I’ve a gift you have not got”. By this she means that she has a son and as she later goes on to say (“and seem not like to get”) this shows us that Kate may be infertile and may never be able to conceive a child.

    The maid knows how much the lord wants one “to wear his coronet” or gain his inheritance. There are also many comparisons in ‘The Seduction’ of before and after the girl becomes pregnant. Before she was pregnant she dreamt of holidays and teenage parties. After she is pregnant the girl says: “Where were all the glossy photos of summer? Day trips to Blackpool, jumping all the rides” After she is pregnant she no longer feels that she will be able to go on the holidays that she used to before she was pregnant.

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    The Seduction and Cousin Kate Poetry Essay. (2017, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/seduction-cousin-kate-poetry-21832/

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