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Analysis of Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti

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Analysis of Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti

'Cousin Kate' by Christina Rossetti describes a cottage maiden who was
seduced and used by the lord of the estate for which she worked. She
was surprised and taken a back by the fact that someone so great and
powerful could be slightly interested in her, and so she automatically
fell in love with him. It wasn't until after he had slept with her
that he left her for her cousin, Kate. The cottage maiden was
devastated that he had done that to her. She felt unclean and
unwanted. The lord asked for Kate's hand in marriage and she accepted.
The cottage maid thought that he married Kate because she was innocent
and pure, 'Because you were so good and pure/He bound you with his
ring' - the cottage maiden is in complete contrast to her cousin. The
only good thing that came out of this was the cottage maiden had a
child, 'Yet I've a gift you have not got...' and 'my fair-haired son'.
The lord had seduced the cottage maiden and used her like a 'silken
knot'. This basically means that the lord used the cottage maiden as a
trophy and used her when he wanted to.

This is a poem based and written in the 19th century. There are three
main characters in the story. Cousin Kate, the cottage maiden and the
Lord. The title of this poem is self-explanatory. The poem is based on
a character called Cousin Kate. As she is the main character in the
poem, the whole poem revolves around her. The poem basically tells us
about 19th century life and people's attitudes towards unlawful
relationships. The poem tells us about a cottage maiden who had an
affair with a Lord. She loses her virginity to him, and then regrets
the whole ordeal. In the 19th century, if you were not known as pure
...


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... but further on
she's not able to contain this calmness anymore and has an outburst of
hatred towards the Lord - something that she's been trying to cover.
The last stanza of the poem becomes more of revenge than hatred. She
feels she's had revenge over the Lord and Kate by having a child -
something that they're not likely to get. She sounds very
self-satisfied.

Christina Rossetti has written a very good portrayal of life in early
times. It shows how society rejected woman who had unlawful sex in
earlier times; women were judges and disowned by all people who knew
them. Society has now changed. Women are no longer judged or even
looked down on by anyone. It has become a way of life that in earlier
times may have been considered as dirty and unlawful, people's
attitudes have changes and it is no longer as big a deal as it was in
the early 19th century.

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